A team of five French amateur astrophotographers has captured a gorgeous 204-megapixel, 1,060-hour photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The Lowell Observatory reports that the team, which goes by the name “Ciel Austral” (which translates to “Southern Sky”), captured thousands of photos between July 2017 and February 2019 and stitched them together to create this eye-popping ultra-high-resolution photo. You can download the 14400×14200-pixel, 80.8-megabyte JPEG here.
The astrophotographers own and operate a remotely-controlled observatory in Chile, and a 160mm refracting telescope was used to capture the roughly 4,000 photos over 1,060 hours of cumulative exposure. A total of 620 gigabytes of data was captured for creating the resulting photo.
The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way that’s about 163,000 light-years away. With a diameter of about 14,000 light-years, the LMC is only about 1/100th the size of our galaxy.
The LMC is visible as a faint “cloud” in the night sky when viewed from dark sights.
Oh, and the Milky Way is expected to collide with the LMC in just 2.4 billion years.