LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Splendid starfield centred on the constellation of the Southern Cross. It shows a region of the Milky Way extremely rich in star clusters, dark and bright nebulae (pink). The circular dark area at centre left is known as the Coal Sack Nebula, a dark nebula formed by dust which blots out many stars in the background. The pink region at the extreme centre right is Eta Carinae, a giant emission nebula with a diameter of about 300 light years. Omega Centauri, the brightest and largest globular star cluster in the sky, is the bright white object at top left close to the edge of the frame. Alpha and Beta Centauri (centre left) are the two brightest stars in the frame.
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