Starry Sky of Cook Islands

By: Tunc Tezel


Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Mangaia - Cook Islands

Date: 2010 July 9

The Milky Way, bright stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri, and the Southern Cross and the notable dark nebula known as the Coal Sack are photographed above palm trees in Mangaia; a 10km wide island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the southern hemisphere. Mangaia is the most southerly of the Cook Islands. This volcanic remnant has the distinction of being the oldest island in the Pacific dating back to about 18 million years ago. As noted by the photographer "I traveled to this remote paradise with only 500 Polynesian residents because the total solar eclipse path of 11 July 2010 were passing over this location. There were few places in the island with rather open view to the sky but even there tall palm trees were all around. Standing or leaving the camera under those palms for a long exposure was not a good idea with the falling coconuts!" Tunc Tezel

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