Planets and Zodiacal Light

By: Tunc Tezel


Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Mangaia - Cook Islands

Date: 2010 July 12

As the evening twilight fades away in this remote island in the Pacific Ocean, the dazzling planet Venus shines above scattered clouds. Further up is the red planet Mars and Saturn. The elongated light that is stretched from the horizon through the planets region is the zodiacal light (reflection of sunlight from dust in the solar system plane). On the left side, bright stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri, and the Southern Cross appear over palm trees. This pacific paradise in the southern hemisphere is Mangaia, 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. This is the view from Oneroa village, as seen from the top of a natural terrace of rocks, which is called Makatea by the locals. As noted by the photographer "I traveled to this 10 km wide island with only 500 Polynesian residents because the total solar eclipse path of 11 July 2010 were passing over this location." Tunc Tezel

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