(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
A massive zoom-able image by the European Southern Obesrvatory (ESO) shows just how many stars are in a patch of sky.
Although this isn't the according to Slate's Phil Plait, a patch of sky roughly twice the size of that which can be covered by your outstretched hand., but this image by Stéphane Guisard at the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile shows only a portion of the 9-gigapixel image — or,
It's around 24,000x14,000 pixels, consisting of three layers — red, green and blue — giving the image both colour and depth — and shows in intricate, zoom-able, scannable detail how the night sky is put together.
Where the sky is clear, you can hardly see any darkness at all: those strange patterns of shadow are actually caused by dust obscuring the stars behind it — answering, at least partially, Olbers' Paradox (which was actually solved some time ago, but it's fun to pretend).
And that's only a very small fraction of the stars in our galaxy.
Aside from that, it's rather beautiful to look at.
In fact, if you like, you can order a print from the ESO, available from a modest 60x34.3 centimetres, all the way up to a massive 3x1.7 metres.
You can find the image here. For the best effect, we recommend going full-screen. With a projector.