Astronomy Picture of the Day



Southern Cross in Mauna Loa Skies

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#65945 by @ 30.01.2005 00:02 - nach oben -
Southern Cross in Mauna Loa Skies


Explanation:

Gazing across this gorgeous skyscape, the
Southern Cross and
stars of the constellation Centaurus are seen above
the outline of
Mauna Loa
(Long Mountain), planet Earth's
largest volcano.

Unfamiliar
to sky gazers north of about 25 degrees north latitude,
the Southern Cross, constellation Crux, is near the horizon
to the left of Mauna Loa's summit.

A compact constellation of bright stars, the long axis of the cross
conveniently points south toward the southern
celestial pole.

The top of the cross is marked by the lovely pale red star
Gamma Crucis,
which is in fact a red giant star about 120 light-years distant.

Stars of the grand
constellation Centaurus almost engulf
the Southern Cross with blue giant
Beta Centauri, and
yellowish Alpha Centauri,
appearing as the brightest stars to the left of Gamma Crucis.

At a distance of 4.3 light-years,
Alpha Centauri,
the closest star to the Sun,
is actually a triple star system which includes a
star similar to the Sun.

But what caused the reddish streaks in the foreground of this time
exposure?

Alas, it is the mundane glow of lights from cars (not molten
lava!)
traveling the road to Hilo,
Hawaii.




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