Centaurus-Carina(500)ab.jpg (162058 bytes)

The southern Milky Way blazes with brilliant stars, nebulae and star clusters.  Alpha and Beta Centauri are in the upper left of the image.  Alpha Centauri, also known as Rigil Kentaurus, is a yellow G2 star similar to our Sun.  It is the closest star to our solar system at 4.3 light-years and the third-brightest star in the night sky at magnitude -0.27.  The constellation Crux, also known as the Southern Cross, is in the top center of the image.   To the left of Crux is the Coal Sack, a dark nebula silhouetted against the stars of the Milky Way.  In the lower right of the image is the constellation Carina, containing the spectacular Eta Carinae Nebula and numerous open star clusters, several of which are visible to the naked eye.

Instrument:   Nikon 50mm/1.8 lens, piggybacked on Vixen 102-ED on a Great Polaris mount
  2 x 20 minutes, one filtered, one unfiltered, manually guided
  E200, pushed one stop to 320
  June 20, 2001
  Chisamba, Zambia
Technical Notes:  A diffusion filter was used for one of the exposures to enlarge the images and enhance the colors of bright stars.  This image was digitally blended with an unfiltered image to create the final image seen here.

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