Centaurus constellation. Optical image of the southern constellation Centaurus, the centaur. North is at top. At lower left is Alpha Centauri (or Rigel Kentaurus, the left one of the two bright stars). This is the nearest visible star to Earth, lying just 4.3 light years away. To its right is Hadar (Beta Centauri). Further to the right is the constellation Crux, the Southern Cross. Just below and to the left of Crux is a dark area in the Milky Way known as The Coal Sack. This is a nearby dust cloud which obscures the bright Milky Way stars behind it. At bottom right corner is the pink Eta Carinae nebula, with the constellation Corvus, the crow, at upper right.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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