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Spectacular Skies

April 23, 2019

Being out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Rapa Nui has some seriously dark skies. And even during daylight, the heavens are pretty spectacular, with roiling black clouds signaling rain, or just achingly blue clear sky.

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The new moon happened on April 2, which made the skies above Anakena Beach even darker. Our local guide and astrophotographer, Marc, pointed out the various constellations, including the Southern Cross, Pisces and Orion, as well as the International Space Station and several planets, among them Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.  Shooting stars zipped across the void. After unsatisfying night shooting in Alaska (Northern Lights and freezing) and Namibia (a malfunctioning lens at wide angles) I was determined to get something — one good shot — to bring home. My first one delivered a big surprise…

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The cloud, which appeared to the naked eye as a blob of puffy grayness, had been brilliantly tinted by the brush fire we had smelled earlier in the evening. It made for some real drama as it shape-shifted throughout the hours we stood on the beach. See the shooting star directly above the rightmost moai, above?

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What was so great about the cloud — or was it actually smoke? — was that it made every shot just a bit different from the others. Now I’m really hooked on dark skies!

3 Comments
  1. Suzy Fisher permalink

    OMG! Stunning!

    Like

  2. Cheri Anderson permalink

    Love your results, Diana! the shooting star is a real bonus. My favs are #2 and #5.

    Like

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