At this time of the year the Southern Cross with the brilliant stars in Centaurs are starting to head down into the south-western sky, and the starlight from the Milky Way is blazing above at the Zenith.
With the camera attached to the top of a tracking Meade LX200 10inch telescope I captured a few lovely images of the dark Milky Way night sky.
This image shows to the left the spectacular stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri that point the way to the Southern Cross. These two stars are also known Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Cen) and Hadar (Beta Cen). Alpha Centauri is a triple star system with one of its stars called Proxima Centaui that’s the closest star to our Sun at just 4.3 light-years away!
The Southern Cross (Crux) is the smallest constellation in the sky and has some very colourful stars. At the top there is the pretty yellow star Gamma Crucis, the bottom blue star is Alpha Crucis and points to the south celestial pole. The other stars are to the left Beta Crucis with the Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) close by and to the right is another blue star called Delta Crucis with the orange-hued star Epsilon Crucis just below.
To the bottom of the Southern Cross is the large dark nebula known as the Coalsack Nebula that spans 7x5 degrees and when viewed from a very dark sky looks just magnificent. There’s so much gas and dust in this area it’s blotting out the starlight from behind.
Images taken with a Canon 6D Mk11 camera and Canon 50mm F1.8 lens set at f4 and ISO3200, 15 images were captured and stacked in DSS with corresponding dark frames and processed in PS, the image is cropped.
To find out more about this area of the sky please see star map below or click on link below to print one out.