Photo of the day
November 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Very cool photo of the Southern sky in the Slate “Bad Astronomy” blog:
The southern stars of Carina and Crux hang over the Very Large Telescope.
Image credit: ESO/Babak Tafreshi
What grabs your attention right away is the stunning starscape. This picture was taken in Chile, at a latitude of 24 degrees south. Many of the stars seen here never rise for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere; the Earth is forever in the way. We’re looking in a direction toward the Milky Way, so we see lots of stars scattered about—it’s like looking toward the downtown of a city from a suburb.
Most of the stars you see here are part of the constellation Carina, representing the keel of a ship. The brightest star in the picture, though, the blue one on the right, is called Acrux, one of the stars in Crux, the famous Southern Cross. Crux is a kite-shaped figure, with Acrux at the top and the other three to the lower left.
Dominating the shot is the ruddy glow of the mighty Carina Nebula, a vast, sprawling complex of gas and dust so large, so massive, that it’s hard to describe, let alone grasp.