The spiny forest is silhouetted against a brilliant night sky and early dawn light at 25 degrees south latitude in southern Madagascar. The Milky Way stretches overhead and the Southern Cross lies on its side in the center of the photograph, at treetop level. One bright star seems to touch the ground below the Southern Cross -- it is alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth. We took this digital exposure at 4:15 A.M. on November 9, 2003, during a total lunar eclipse. It was a magical moment when the full moon was darkened by the Earth's shadow and the sky, no longer whitewashed by the moon's glare, opened up.
© Gregory G. and Mary Beth Dimijian