APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:06 am

Image Milky Way Above Easter Island

Explanation: Why were the statues on Easter Island built? No one is sure. What is sure is that over 800 large stone statues exist there. The Easter Island statues, stand, on the average, over twice as tall as a person and have over 200 times as much mass. Few specifics are known about the history or meaning of the unusual statues, but many believe that they were created about 500 years ago in the images of local leaders of a lost civilization. Pictured above, some of the stone giants were illuminated in 2009 under the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Boomer12k » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:04 am

Notice the middle head? Up from that, to the right of the Pipe nebula is a guy doing pushups!!!! The Pushup Nebula?


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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by WallyBalls » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:03 pm

Why does the description in APOD so often begin with an unanswerable question? No one is sure.

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:07 pm

Because one of the purposes of APOD is to make its viewers curious and unanswerable questions can do that. That's my guess. That, and writing style. Repeat an action enough and some nuances are bound to emerge.
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by neufer » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:25 pm

WallyBalls wrote:
Why does the description in APOD so often begin with an unanswerable question? No one is sure.
  • The answer my friend is blowin' in the Solar wind
    The answer is blowin' in the Solar wind.
    (When will APOD ever learn
    When will they ever learn?)
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:33 pm

Milky Way pictures; always nice! :) I liked the video about the statues! 8-)
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"Mata ki te rangi"

Post by neufer » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:25 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island wrote: <<Easter Island (Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 [= a prime number] extant monumental statues, called MOAI, created by the early Rapanui people.

The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday 1722, while searching for Davis or David's island. Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland (18th century Dutch for "Easter Island"). The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island".

The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui, "Big Rapa", was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa Iti in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group. However Thor Heyerdahl argued that Rapa was the original name of Easter Island, and that Rapa Iti was named by refugees from there.

The phrase Te pito o te henua has been said to be the original name of the island since Alphonse Pinart gave it the romantic translation "the Navel of the World" in his Voyage à l'Île de Pâques, published in 1877. However, there are two words pronounced pito in Rapa Nui, one meaning 'navel' and one 'end', and the phrase can thus also mean "land's end". This was apparently its actual meaning: William Churchill (1912) inquired about the phrase as was told that there were three te pito o te henua, these being the three capes (land's ends) of the island. He was unable to elicit a Polynesian name for the island itself, and concluded that there may not have been one. According to Barthel (1974), oral tradition has it that the island was first named Te pito o te kainga a Hau Maka "The little piece of land of Hau Maka".

Another name, "Mata ki te rangi", means "Eyes looking to the sky".>>
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Pastorian » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:45 pm

See related article in the new July issue of National Geographic

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Psnarf » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:55 pm

Those statues serve as a stark reminder of what's in store for civilizations that refuse to admit that the frontier mentality of unlimited resources isn't a smart idea. The statues were moved and installed using wood from forests that used to cover the island. I wonder what those guys were thinking as they felled the last remaining tree?
[*rant off*] Siriusly, where have all the forests gone that used to cover Brazil's coastal plains?

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:09 pm

Psnarf wrote:Those statues serve as a stark reminder of what's in store for civilizations that refuse to admit that the frontier mentality of unlimited resources isn't a smart idea. The statues were moved and installed using wood from forests that used to cover the island. I wonder what those guys were thinking as they felled the last remaining tree?
They weren't thinking, they were driven by dogmatic views... that's the problem. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:32 pm

Would someone please be so kind as to help me get oriented to the sky in this picture? Which direction are we facing? What constellations are we looking at? What are the bright stars, clusters, and prominent nebulae? Thanks.

(And yes, Earth is just a slightly larger island than Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island. But unlike Rapa Nui, there are no other habitable islands within canoe distance of Earth.)
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by neufer » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:22 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Would someone please be so kind as to help me get oriented to the sky in this picture? Which direction are we facing? What constellations are we looking at? What are the bright stars, clusters, and prominent nebulae? Thanks.
Try this: http://media.skysurvey.org/interactive360/index.html
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:48 pm

neufer wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Would someone please be so kind as to help me get oriented to the sky in this picture? Which direction are we facing? What constellations are we looking at? What are the bright stars, clusters, and prominent nebulae? Thanks.
Try this: http://media.skysurvey.org/interactive360/index.html
Thanks Neufer. Believe it or not, I did try looking at Nick Risinger's photopic sky survey before I posted my question. It's hard for me to relate what I see in a picture to what I see in the sky, until I've got a landmark (skymark?) and direction to orient myself. I guess I've spent too many nights out under the stars, and not enough time staring at pixels. ;-)
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Ann » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:53 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:Would someone please be so kind as to help me get oriented to the sky in this picture? Which direction are we facing? What constellations are we looking at? What are the bright stars, clusters, and prominent nebulae? Thanks.
We are looking at Sagittairus, Scorpius, Centaurus, Crux and a bit of Carina, and you can see a few more obscure constellations, such as Norma and Ara.

Count the statues from the left and stop between statue number two and three. Between and above their heads is the Teapot of Sagittarius. As you can see if you follow the link, a puff of smoke appears to emanate from the spout of the teapot. That "puff of smoke" is actually a part of the bulge of the Milky Way, and this particular bright area is called The (Large) Star Cloud of Sagittarius.

Another bright spot is seen to the right of the Star Cloud of Sagittarius. If you check out the link again, you can see that this bright spot is actually the young and relatively bright cluster Messier 7, seen against a starry background. Between and "above" the Star Cloud of Sagittarius and Messier 7 (or M7) is another cluster, M6.

When you have found M6, proceed almost "straight up". You will come to a bright star above the dust lane of the Milky Way. This star is actually Antares, and you have come to the "Upper Scorpius" region.

Return "down" to the Sagittarius Star Cloud and M7 again, and proceed to the right inside the dark dust lane of the Milky Way until you come to an "arc-like" structure. This is a rich star formation region in Scorpius centered on the brilliant young cluster NGC 6231.

The next (modest-looking) brightening in the dust lane is found in the constellation Ara and marks the position of a small but remarkable cluster, NGC 6193. The primary star of that cluster, HD 150136, is an extremely rare O-type star, classified by some astronomers as a star of spectral class O3.

To the right of the NGC 6193 cluster is another brightening, centered on rich cluster NGC 6167. If you follow this link, you can see the rather large pink emission nebula surrounding NGC 6193 at center left and the small bright compact cluster NGC 6167 at center right.

Now proceed some distance to the right until you come to two bright and obvious stars. They are Alpha and Beta Centauri. Alpha Centauri is of course the nearest of all stars apart from the Sun. Some distance to the right of Alpha and Beta Cen is a dark cloud, the Coalsack of Centaurus. To the right of the Coalsack is Crux, the Southern Cross. Check out this link to see Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Coalsack and the Southern Cross.

Near the upper right corner of the picture is another small arc-like structure. That is rich cluster NGC 3532.

At the extreme far right, you can see a bright structure which is actually the great Eta Carina Nebula! Check out this link to see both the Carina nebula and the arc-like cluster NGC 3532 to the left of the Carina Nebula.

Finally, almost "straight below" NGC 3532 is a struture that looks a bit like an upside down "v". That is cluster IC 2602.

Ann
Last edited by Ann on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Thank you Ann! I thought those stars might be the teapot, but of course they're oriented differently at latitude 27 degrees south than I'm used to seeing them at 37 degrees north, and Scorpius is much higher in the sky. On Saturday night I was looking at M7 and M6 through my little telescope. I hope someday to travel far enough south to see Centaurus, Crux, and Carina.
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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by scr33d » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:50 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Psnarf wrote:Those statues serve as a stark reminder of what's in store for civilizations that refuse to admit that the frontier mentality of unlimited resources isn't a smart idea. The statues were moved and installed using wood from forests that used to cover the island. I wonder what those guys were thinking as they felled the last remaining tree?
They weren't thinking, they were driven by dogmatic views... that's the problem. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
J. Bronowski asked the crucial question of these statues: why are they all made alike?

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Beyond » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:51 am

orin stepanek wrote:Milky Way pictures; always nice! :) I liked the video about the statues! 8-)
Yeah, Milky Way pictures are nice, but you can't eat a picture. I'd rather eat the bar in the middle, the earth version that is. :chomp: :yes: :clap: :lol2:
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by Beyond » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:56 am

Psnarf wrote:Those statues serve as a stark reminder of what's in store for civilizations that refuse to admit that the frontier mentality of unlimited resources isn't a smart idea. The statues were moved and installed using wood from forests that used to cover the island. I wonder what those guys were thinking as they felled the last remaining tree?
[*rant off*] Siriusly, where have all the forests gone that used to cover Brazil's coastal plains?
As they felled the last remaining tree, they were thinking.... Finally! We can go home.
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

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Re: APOD: Milky Way Above Easter Island (2012 Jun 18)

Post by ta152h0 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:18 pm

The UFO guys just came down to scare Pedro Alvarez Cabral to " git the heck out " and go to the other ocean and discover brazil. Pass the ice cold one, please !! :P
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