Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Milky Way Near the Southern Cross

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The Milky Way Near the Southern Cross


The glow of the southern Milky Way
and the well-known
Southern Cross
are featured in this colorful skyscape
recorded in April over La Frontera, Chile.

The Southern Cross
itself is at the right of the
20 degree wide field of view, topped by bright,
yellowish star
Gamma Crucis.

A line from Gamma Crucis through the blue
star at the bottom of the cross, Alpha Crucis,
points toward the south celestial pole.

Against faint Milky Way starlight, the dark expanse of the
Sack Nebula
lies just left of the cross,
while farther left along the Milky Way are the bright stars
, also known as
Beta and Alpha

Blazing in the lower left, Alpha Cen is the closest star
to the Sun, a mere 4.3 light-years distant.

In fact, yellowish Alpha Cen is
actually a triple star
system that includes a sun-like star.

from Alpha Cen
, our own Sun would be a bright yellowish
star in the otherwise recognizable constellation Cassiopeia.

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