As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day and National Geographic News, this heavenly view of the southern Milky Way arching in the sky is photographed from a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. On the left the brightest region in the band of Milky Way is the galactic central bulge toward the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. Bright stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Southern Cross, and the Coalsack dark nebula appear in the right along the fading Milky Way band. This pacific paradise in the southern hemisphere is Mangaia, the most southerly of the Cook Islands. This volcanic remnant has the distinction of being the oldest island in the Pacific dating back to about 18 million years ago. As noted by the photographer “I traveled to this 10 km wide island with only 500 Polynesian residents because the total solar eclipse path of 11 July 2010 was passing over this location.”
This photo was a winner of Astrophotographer of the Year 2011 competition of Royal Museums Greenwich in Earth and Space category.