As seen on the National Geographic News like a cosmic tree, the Milky Way band of stars appears to rise out from an ancient pine tree forest at Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah. Among the longest-lived organisms, some of the twisted bristlecone trees—picture above in the foreground—are 5000 years old. Because of the vast distance between these stars and Earth, some of the starlight seen in this picture was actually emitted years ago, when these trees were just saplings. Click on the second photo to see the figures of constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius which are oriented with the bright central bulge of the galaxy. The notable nebulae and star clusters in this rich part of the sky are labeled.



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