Crux constellation and the southern celestial pole. Crux, the southern cross, is formed of four bright stars in the Milky Way at upper centre. Just left of its base, the dark Coal Sack nebula is seen. This is a foreground cloud of dark dust that blocks the light from the Milky Way stars beyond it. The bright stars at upper left are Alpha Centauri (left) and Hadar (Beta Centauri, right). The top and bottom stars in Crux (Gamma and Alpha Crucis) point towards the south celestial pole, some 4.5 times the Gamma-Alpha distance below Crux. Unlike the north celestial pole, which has Polaris, the south pole has no bright star near to it.
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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