As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day Capella, alpha star of the constellation Auriga, rises over Mt. Everest in this panoramic view of the top of the world at night. The scene was recorded in late November from the World Heritage Sagarmatha National Park. The photographer was at altitude 3600 meters near Namche Bazaar, Nepal, gateway to the Himalayan mountain range. Moonlight illuminates the famous peaks of Everest (8848 meters), Lhotse (the world’s 4th highest at 8516 meters), and the outstanding Ama Dablam (6812 m) at left, and a stupa (a Buddhist religious monument) in the foreground, along the main trail to the Everest Base Camp. The light in the valley is from the Tengboche Monastery, an important religious center for Sherpa community which is also along the trail at about 4000 meters. In the middle of image Thamserku is the closest and largest mountain of the view (6623m). From left to right above the moonlit peaks, the stars of Auriga give way to bright giant star Aldebaran, eye of the Taurus the Bull, the Pleiades star cluster, alpha Ceti, and finally alpha Phoenicis of the Phoenix. Peaks and stars can be identified by moving the slider on the image.

Sagarmatha National Park contains a magnificent part of Himalayas and the southern half of Mount Everest. In fact the park varies in altitude from lowest point of 2845 m to 8848 m at the summit of Everest. Sagarmatha is a Sanskrit word, from sagar = “sky” and māthā = “head”, and is the modern Nepali name for Mount Everest.



comments (3)

  • Kayla Reply

    I adore this photograph! It is definitely one of my favourites! It’s so beautiful, especially the clarity of the stars.

    June 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm
  • Moises A. Kuri Reply

    Hi Babak Tafreshi, dear friend.
    Some months ago, i wrote you an e-mail (from Oaxaca, Mexico) remember?
    I like so much your astronomical work. True…i like so much.
    Now, I very worried for all people of Nepal. My prayers are for all of them.
    ¡¡¡ Thank you for this wonderfull image ¡¡¡¡
    Have a good day.

    May 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm
  • Babak Tafreshi - TWAN Reply

    Thank you Moises for the feedback. Nepal is a wonderful country with great people.

    May 21, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Leave a comment