Comparison of the central part of the Milky Way at different wavelengths

This video comparison shows the central regions of the Milky Way observed in four different wavelength ranges.

The first view shows compact sources of submillimetre radiation detected by APEX as part of the ATLASGAL survey, combined with complementary data from ESA’s Planck satellite, to capture more extended features.

The second view shows the same region as seen in shorter, infrared, wavelengths by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the GLIMPSE survey.

The third view shows the same part of sky again at even shorter wavelengths, the near-infrared, as seen by ESO’s VISTA infrared survey telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Regions appearing as dark dust tendrils here show up brightly in the ATLASGAL view.

Finally the more familiar view in visible light, when most of the more distant structures are hidden from view, is also included.

The significance of the colours varies from image to image and they cannot be directly compared.


ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck/VVV Survey/D. Minniti/S. Guisard
Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo, Martin Kornmesser. Music: Johan B. Monell (

About the Video

Release date:24 February 2016, 12:00
Related releases:eso1606
Duration:02 m 00 s

About the Object

Type:Milky Way

Ultra HD (info)



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30.6 MB

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