Greg Gibbs

Beneath Our Radiant Southern Cross

For anyone living in the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross (or Crux constellation) is a well recognised icon of the night sky. It features on many national flags and appears in many poems and songs. It is the smallest of the 88 modern constellations. With the aid of a couple of other nearby stars, it can be used for navigation by pointing to true south.

Featuring in this widefield view is the dark Coal Sack Nebula on the far left. Just next to the Coal Sack is The Southern Cross constellation. The small pink region just below centre frame is The Running Chicken Nebula (IC 2944). The larger pink region towards the lower right of frame is the huge Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) region. At the heart of this nebula is the highly luminous hypergiant star Eta Carinae which potentially could go supernova any moment (In cosmic terms. It could be tomorrow or it might be in 10,000 years or more. No one knows for sure). If this star did go supernova in our lifetimes it would be easily visable during the day.

Single five minute exposure. Canon 60D with Canon 50mm F/1.8 lens. Piggyback mounted on an Skywatcher NEQ6 Pro goto computerised telescope mount to counter the Earths rotation

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