LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Splendid starfield centred on the constellation of the Southern Cross (Crux Australis). It shows an area of our galaxy, the Milky Way, extremely rich in star clusters, dark and bright (pink) nebulae. Four bright stars at upper centre identify the familiar cross-shaped asterism in the Southern Cross. The two brightest stars at bottom left are Alpha (closer to the edge) and Beta Centauri. The dark round area seen at lower centre is the Coal Sack Nebula. It is a cloud of interstellar gas which absorbs the radiation emitted by the stars in this area. Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular star cluster in the sky, is the white, round object at top left.
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