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Heavenly View above the Pacific Ocean

By: Tunc Tezel

 

Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Mangaia - Cook Islands

Date: 2010 July 10

This heavenly view of the southern Milky Way arching in the sky is photographed from a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. On the left the brightest region in the band of Milky Way is the galactic central bulge toward the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. Bright stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri, and the Southern Cross appear in the middle and slightly to the right along the fading Milky Way band. At the horizon there are three interesting objects. Bright southern star Canopus (at right) and our galactic dwarf neighbors the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the middle. The south direction is pointing between them and the pacific waters meet no other land on this direction until they reach Antarctica. 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. 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. This place called Rock Pools is on the western coast of the island and just a kilometer south of Oneroa village. Surf and breaking waves on the off-shore coral reef caused the lighter colours on the surface of the ocean." Tunc Tezel

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