Incredible photo over Switzerland reveals the Milky Way in all its galactic glory

This amazing image shows just why we call our galaxy the Milky Way, as the dazzling white band of star clusters and nebulae arcs across the night sky in the Swiss Alps. A NASA astronomer explains just how much of our galaxy (and others) we can see in this one photo...

What's visible in the night sky during this time of year? To help illustrate the answer, a beautiful land, cloud, and skyscape was captured earlier this month over Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Visible in the foreground were the snow covered cliffs of the amphitheater shaped Creux du Van, as well as distant trees, and town-lit clouds. Visible in the night sky (at midnight) were galaxies including the long arch of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy (M31), and the Triangulum galaxy (M33). Star clusters visible included NGC 752, M34, M35, M41, the double cluster, and the Beehive (M44). Nebulas visible included the Orion Nebula (M42), NGC 7822, IC 1396, the Rosette Nebula, the Flaming Star Nebula, the California Nebula, the Heart and Soul Nebulas, and the Pacman Nebula.

You can also check out the original photo over at NASA for an even larger resolution image and an annotated guide to which celestial objects are where.

Via NASA.