Hilde Hovens captured this image on December 15, 2017. Hilde wrote:
Great Barrier Island has just been declared a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association in 2017. Only 90 kilometers (56 miles) away from New Zealand’s capital Auckland, the island doesn’t suffer from light pollution as it’s completely off-the-grid: a great place to have a dark sky experience.
This photo was taken just after astronomical twilight had started. Two flax flowers are pointing to the Small and the Large Magellanic Clouds.
The Small and Large Magellanic Clouds look like two hazy patches in the skies of Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. They are satellite galaxies to the Milky Way, orbiting around it. Learn more about them here:
Bottom line: Photo from Great Barrier Island, New Zealand shows the Small and Large Megallanic Clouds.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.