Our Cosmic Neighbors

By: P.K. Chen


Region: Australia and Pacific

Site: Lake Tekapo - New Zealand

Date: July 2010

The southern hemisphere view of the Milky Way is photographed above the Church of the Good Shepherd at the shore of Lake Tekapo in the South Island of New Zealand. Note our galactic neighbors the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds at the lower left. The Magellanic Clouds are considered as satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. Each of the two small irregular galaxies has less than 10% of the Milky Way mass but this is still count as several billion suns for each of them. Mount John University Observatory, New Zealand's premier astronomical observatory, is situated near the lake and with support of New Zealand government the starry sky of the lake is considered a nominate site for UNESCO Starlight Reserve initiative; a new approach to preserve the dark sites as a World Heritage. P.K. Chen

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