NewsPhotographer worked on breathtaking photo of the Milky Way...

Photographer worked on breathtaking photo of the Milky Way for 12 years

The fact that we are surrounded by infinite expanses in space is nothing new. But that it can take 12 years to work on a photo of the Milky Way sounds incredible.

Finland – Recently, researchers discovered the twin of the Milky Way (* tz reported). The original is so fascinating and complex that it took a photographer 12 years to depict it. Photographer JP Metsavainio has put together a breathtaking picture of our Milky Way. In order to capture them in all their details, he had to put together a collection of many individual images.

Metsavainio started his snapshots in Finland in 2009. In March he published a mosaic image of the Milky Way. The mosaic shows almost 20 million stars. The entire Milky Way extends over billions of stars.

The photo shows not only the Milky Way, but also the remains of three supernovae

JP Metsavainio also got real rarities in front of the lens. The photo shows the remains of three supernovae. “When you have been working on the same project for almost 12 years, it seems that there is not much that could surprise you,” Metsavainio told the Internet portal “Insider”. Not even close. That he caught the ghostly debris in front of the camera was unexpected.

It took a total of 1,250 hours to take the individual images for the Milky Way photo

The photographer lives about 10 kilometers from the Finnish Arctic Circle and owns a private observatory. For six months a year, he can admire the starry sky directly above his house and see the Milky Way particularly well *. “I work every single clear night,” says Metsavainio.

He stays awake for a long time anyway, he can then observe and photograph an object for four to seven hours. The altitude position in the sky plays a role here. The photographer uses large equipment. “I am a perfectionist in terms of my work,” he told “Insider”. “I don’t want to miss a single precious, clear moment that can be traced back to a small software bug.” He spent a total of 1,250 hours collecting images for his mosaic.

The final photo of the Milky Way consists of many individual works.

Bilder der Milchstraße zwischen 2009 - 2021


Milky Way Mosaic

JP Metsavainio has compiled the respective individual works at Photoshop *. Stars were his guide for the recording. Blue stands for oxygen, green for hydrogen and red for sulfur. In the final picture, stars can be seen forming anew in clouds of dust, fog and gas. Including the constellation Perseus and the Californian nebula located in it, 1,000 light-years away from Earth. Also the constellation Cepheus, which is 2,400 light years away.

The first black hole ever discovered, “Cygnus X-1”, can also be seen on the mosaic. Metsavainio’s “all-time favorite” elements of the project are the supernova remnants. He called them his “three musketeers”.

The supernova remnants were captured for 3 years

Der Supernova-Rest G65.3 + 5.7



A supernova is the last kiss between two stars *. Enormous energy is released in the process, which scatters debris across the galaxy, leaving behind a spreading fog. Dust normally blocks the view, but after 300 hours of observation it has managed to capture the debris clouds with enough photos.

“They are all extremely dark and are in a very dense star field,” says Metsavainio. “That makes imaging almost impossible.” Metsavainio’s long-term goal was the rest of the Supernova W63. It is located near the constellation Cygnus, nicknamed “Cygnus Shell”, 5,000 light years away.

It took Metsavainio three years, from 2015 to 2018, to collect enough photos of Cygnus Shell. But he invests so much time precisely in capturing such objects. You are “the reason I do this slow and lonely work,” he said. * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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