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Pegasus and Andromeda in the Crater Lake

By: Wally Pacholka

 

Region: Americas

Site: Crater Lake - USA

Date: July 2010

In a dark starry night of Crater Lake in Oregon, stars of constellations Andromeda and Pegasus (with its Great Square asterism figure) are reflected in the calm waters of the lake. The elongated small cloud near the left edge of the view is the is the Andromeda Galaxy or M31, home to 200-400 billion stars. Located 2.5 million light years away, its light belongs to an era when there was no human on this planet. However M31 is the closest major galaxy to the Milky Way and can be recognized in dark skies easily with unaided eyes. Crater Lake is a 10km wide volcanic caldera with maximum depth of about 600 meters (the deepest lake in the US). It is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The rim of the Crater Lake reaches altitude of 2400 meters. That's why in this early summer view parts of the edge are still snow-covered. The caldera was formed about 7700 years ago by collapse of a volcano. The local tribe of Native Americans, who may have witnessed the collapse of volcano and the formation of the crater, have long regarded this lake a sacred spiritual site. Their legends tell of a battle between the sky god the god of the underworld and the volcano (Mount Mazama) was destroyed in the battle, creating Crater Lake. Wally Pacholka/Astropics.com

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