Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, appears above palm trees in Ilha Grande, an island in Brazil. Looking at this dramatic view we might wonder about the other habitable worlds in the galaxy. How many planets in the Milky Way could support life?

Two bight stars Alpha and Beta Centauri appear at the top right. They are one of the prominent features of the southern sky. Near the image center are constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius where the Milky Way becomes brightest and forms the galactic bulge. The bright star Antares (a red giant star) on the left marks the heart of the celestial scorpion.

Ilha Grande is located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state and it is largely preserved and noted for its scenic beauty. The island is one of the most pristine remnants of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest and one of the richest ecosystems in the world.



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