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seeker372011

One of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen

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This has to be on my top 5 greatest ever astronomy related visual observations. The sort of sight that takes your breath away. Unfortunately I couldn't image it so I'll have to describe it in words.

My wife and I were driving back from the rim of Mt Yasur Volcano, in Tanna Island, Vanuatu last Tuesday. It was absolutely pitch dark -there is no electricity on the entire eastern side of the Island.

Driving across the volcanic ash plains in darkness-as desolate as any moonscape you can imagine-lit only by the headlights of the car, and with only the tracks of the 4WD that have gone before you as signposts is pretty nerve wracking, even if you are in the hands of a driver who has done this hundreds of times before. It was even hairier, thanks to the rain that had driven us from the rim of the crater a short while ago and rendered visibility poorer than normal.

And then, as I peered through the car window, and all the more memorable because it was so unexpected, the rain stopped and the cloud disappeared as if by magic.

And this is what I saw. In the distance, you could just make out the awesome, forbidding presence of the volcano, angry red emissions at its peak glinting through the cloud of ash that seems to always shroud the caldera. And almost directly overhead,the Milky Way as I have never seen it. Firstly, incredibly bright-I could easily see the Eta Carina nebula with the naked eye. Omega Centauri too was also easily seen with the naked eye. But most spectacular was how wide the Milky Way appeared. I remember Walter Scott Houston once writing in one of his columns, that it is really hard to estimate the width of the milky way, as it can vary from observation to observation, depending upon the seeing and other conditions. Well, the seeing and conditions on this night must have been superb.

So there it was. A forbidding volcano, reaching into the sky, glowing angrily red at the top, through the clouds of ash that surrounded it. And above, the Milky Way, brighter and broader than I have ever seen before, arching across the entire sky.

What an incredible sight. I feel privileged to have observed this.

Narayan

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Photos photos photos!

:rulez::rulez::rulez:

Can only imagine that sight mate. Sounds amazing. If I ever go there, I'll make sure it is on a new moon.

You must have been spewing you didn't have a camera ready.

Ray

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...and I feel privileged to have read this. I have often seen the Milky Way spread above me like a billowing cloud, but the volcano must have added a whole extra dimension, along with the things you mention that I just can't see from here. Nice post!

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...and I feel privileged to have read this. I have often seen the Milky Way spread above me like a billowing cloud' date=' but the volcano must have added a whole extra dimension, along with the things you mention that I just can't see from here. Nice post![/quote']

thank you-hopefully I have conveyed at least a small fraction of the awe and wonder I experienced

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hopefully I have conveyed at least a small fraction of the awe and wonder I experienced

Not really mate -

Photos

Photos

Photos!!!!!!!!!!!!

Linux-Babies-Angry.jpg&t=1

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sadly Ray I dont have photos of the milky way over Mt Yasur-I will need to make another trip one of these days to get such an image..I do have a few images of the volcano doing its thing but nothing remotely astronomical about that :) :) :)

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