An all-sky view above a tropical remote island in the southern Pacific Ocean. The brightest region in the band of the Milky Way is the galactic central bulge toward the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. The elongated fading pale blue light from the upper horizon (west) is the sunlight reflection from dust particles in the solar system plane, known as the zodiacal light. Near the southern horizon (right) our galactic dwarf neighbor the Small Magellanic Cloud is visible. 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 were passing over this location.”



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