Way cool!!!

Through three giant images, the GIGAGALAXY ZOOM project reveals the full sky as it appears with the unaided eye from one of the darkest deserts on Earth, then zooms in on a rich region of the Milky Way using a hobby telescope, and finally uses the power of a professional telescope to reveal the details of an iconic nebula.

In the framework of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), ESO has launched a new project aimed at connecting the sky as seen by the unaided eye with that seen by hobby and professional astronomers. The project, called GIGAGALAXY ZOOM, reveals three amazing, ultra-high-resolution images of the night sky that online stargazers can zoom in on and explore in an incredible level of detail. (…)

The first image by Brunier aims to present the sky as people have experienced it the world over, though in the far greater detail offered by top-notch stargazing conditions and with the view from both hemispheres. As such, the image provides a magnificent 800-million pixel panorama of the whole Milky Way.