Volcano Villarrica, the Southern Cross and the Carina Nebula

May 03, 2021


Photographer: Tomas Slovinsky 
Summary Authors: Tomas Slovinsky; Jim Foster

Shown above is my favorite image from a recent visit to Chile; the snow covered flanks of the Villarrica Volcano (9,380 ft or 2,860 m) and above it the Southern Cross, just to the left of Villarrici’s summit. The Southern Cross is an asterism of the constellation of Crux. Within the striking Cross and directly above the summit, the dark area called the Coalsack, a massive cloud of light absorbing dust and gas, is clearly visible to the unaided eye. It’s referred to as the “shadow of the cross.”

In the upper left corner is another celestial gem of the southern sky, the red-colored Carina Nebula. This grand nebula is even brighter that the well known Orion Nebula. Again, it can easily be detected with the naked eye, but with even minimal magnification, and or increased exposure, details such as texture and intensity become more obvious. Image taken on December 16, 2020.