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Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy (Gallery)

Largest Image of the Milky Way

Lehrstuhl für Astrophysik, RUB/http://gds.astro.rub.de/

The Milky Way galaxy is home to 400 billion stars and our own sun and solar system. It is nearly 120,000 light-years across and a shining example of a spiral galaxy. See some of the most amazing views of our Milky Way galaxy ever captured by amateur and professional astronomers in this SPACE.com gallery. HERE: A section of the Milky Way drawn from what researchers say is the largest astronomical image ever compiled, a huge mosaic of from five years of telescope observations of the galaxy. Read the full story behind the Milky Way view here.

Milky Way Over Old Windmill by Sean Parker

The Milky Way arches over an old windmill near Paulden, Arizona. Astrophotographer Sean Parker sent this image to SAPCE.com on Dec. 30, 2013. [Read the story behind the photo here]

Milky Way Over Joshua Tree National Park

Shreenivasan Manievannan

Astrophotographer Shreenivasan Manievannan sent in a photo of the Milky Way arching over a rock arch in Joshua Tree National Park, California. Photo submitted May 1, 2014.

Milky Way Panorama Kamble

Amit Ashok Kamble

Night sky photographer Amit Ashok Kamble captured this amazing panorama of the Milky Way over Pakiri Beach, New Zealand by stitching 10 images together into a complete mosaic. Image submitted May 5, 2014. [Read the Full Story Here]

Eta Aquarid Meteor and the Milky Way

Mike Taylor/Taylor Photography

Astrophotographer Mike Taylor sent in a photo of an Eta Aquarid fireball meteor with a green tail streaking through the sky with the Milky Way and reflections in a pond, taken on May 6, 2014. Taylor is based in central Maine.

Milky Way Reflections

Amit Ashok Kamble

Astrophotographer Amit Ashok Kamble sent in a photo of the Milky Way and its reflection in a pool, taken in Pakiri, New Zealand. Photo submitted May 5, 2014. [Read the Full Story Here]

Milky Way Rises Over Lighthouse by A. Garrett Evans

A. Garrett Evans sent Space.com this 9-shot panorama of the Milky Way rising over Cape Neddick Lighthouse in York, Maine on March 3, 2014. The photo covers nearly 180 degrees and was taken with a Canon 6D camera, Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm, ISO 4000, f/2.8, 30 sec. [See the Story Behind This Photo Here]

Frosty Drew Milky Way

Frosty Drew | Scott MacNeill

This image of the Milky Way was taken by amateur astronomer Scott MacNeill from Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown, Rhode Island. [Read the Full Story Here]

Milky Way, Green Airglow Over Isle of Wight

The Milky Way and green airglow are captured over the Isle of Wight in this image taken by Chad Powell on Oct. 4, 2013, using a Canon 6D camera (25 seconds, f/2.8, 20mm, and ISO 4000). [Read the Story Behind the Photo Here]

Present and Early Milky Way Montage Illustration

NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)

What a difference 11 billion years makes, as can be seen in these two comparative views of our Milky Way galaxy. The top view shows how our galaxy looks today; the bottom view, how it appeared in the remote past. This photo illustration is based on a Hubble Space Telescope survey of evolving Milky Way-type galaxies. [Read the Full Story Here]

Illustration of Early Milky Way

NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI/AURA)

This is an imaginary view of our young Milky Way as it may have appeared 11 billion years ago, as seen from the surface of a hypothetical planet. The night sky looks markedly different than the view today. The Milky Way's disk and central bulge of stars are smaller and dimmer because the galaxy is in an early phase of construction. The heavens are ablaze with a firestorm of new star formation, seen in the pinkish nebulae glowing from stars still wrapped inside their natal cocoons. The handful of stars visible in the night sky are blue and bright because they are young. [Read the Full Story Here]

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