Stunning New Image Of One Billion Stars

It has taken 10 years but astronomers have captured a unique one billion star image of the Milky Way.

The picture has been created using two infra-red images, one from a UK telescope in Hawaii and the other from a Vista telescope, also in Hawaii.

Astronomers used infra-red radiation instead of visible light, which enabled them to see through much of the dust in the Milky Way and record details of the centre of the galaxy.

Edinburgh and Cambridge universities helped astronomers compile their data from the northern and southern hemispheres to make the image available globally.

Dr Nick Cross from Edinburgh University's school of physics and astronomy said: "This incredible image gives us a new perspective of our galaxy and illustrates the far-reaching discoveries we can make from large sky surveys."

He said the archived information on the billions of stars, known as the Vista Data Flow System, will allow scientists to carry out future research more effectively.

The Milky Way image was being presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.