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This is the current map of the Milky Way, as best we can make it out from our viewpoint inside. Our home galaxy has about 200 billion to perhaps 500 billion other stars beside our own. Orbiting them are billions to trillions of planets and moons. And that’s just one of billions of galaxies in the universe.

We cannot take pictures of our galaxy, so this image is a model. It is based primarily on results from the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) and the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer Galactic Plane Survey (MIPSGAL). Both are key projects for the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope. This particular image was released on June 3, 2008 at the 212th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

I hope your head is spinning. (It should be).

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