Back to writing about Australia and my adventures there.
It was while in the Centre, camping near Ayers Rock, that I first saw the constellation known as the Southern Cross. I have always enjoyed stargazing, and the Australian nighttime sky is astonishing, but this constellation delighted me beyond simply being a nice grouping of stars. Of course, this is no mystery; I’m sentimental. Orion has always been my favorite northern constellation simply because it was my father who first pointed it out to me, and I always associated it with my father. The Southern Cross had to be my favorite southern constellation because of its association with Australia, from its presence on the national flag to its mention in the Stephen Stills song of the same name.
That was the first time I saw the Southern Cross, but not the last, not only on this first trip, but on subsequent trips, as well. In fact, the image below was shot on my fourth trip to Australia. I was camping with friends at Tibooburra in the remote Corner Country, and we were so far from civilization that night photography was quite easy.
However, while I got a couple of good photos of the night sky, scanning the slides was not so successful. Any photographers out there have any thoughts on why my nice black sky on the slide turned into royal blue when I scanned it? I scanned it three times and couldn’t find a way to make the scan look like the slide. Photoshp Elements didn’t help, either. Any advice would be appreciated.
Despite the “blue screen” effect, you can still see the Southern Cross just right of center. The two bright stars lined up to the left of the constellation are known as the Pointers, because their brightness makes them easy to locate and then they point you to the Southern Cross. The Pointer to the left is Alpha Centauri. Actually a group of stars, rather than a single star, Alpha Centauri is our nearest stellar neighbor— the closest star system to our Solar System at just over 4 light years distance.