It’s a city of stars above our heads. The Milky Way is a galaxy that stretches a staggering 600,000 trillion miles from one end to the other. And in this National Geographic TV special, we are taken on a journey through the tumultuous moments in the history of the Milky Way, from the birth of this beautiful spiral galaxy all the way to its eventual death.

One of the images used in the documentary is the 800-million-pixel panorama of the Milky Way created by the Gigagalaxy Zoom project. As grand as the image is, it’s a side-on view of the galaxy that we see and astronomers use all manner of high-tech computer tools to work out what it would like if it were viewed from a bird’s-eye view. Watch part one of Inside the Milky Way below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsSGLmROQUw

Find the other parts after the jump, or you could just buy the blu-ray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9wmzMuxVY8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZzA2XKbElk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-PNvqBxRfs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvDjI2IbqWA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvz_GuyhgM0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61VNt2JttBM

[via Geeks are Sexy]