Stairway to Heaven: Stars and Planets Align in Night Sky Photo
The image was taken from the Atacama desert in western South America by Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science) on July 11, 2012.
Credit: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

Bright stars and planets in the night sky appeared to line up in the early morning for this skywatching image.

The image was taken from the Atacama desert in western South America by Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science) on July 11, 2012.

The Pleiades star cluster stands highest in the sky appearing as a close group of bright blue dots. Next to it, Jupiter shines on the immediate right while Venus sits one step further in the morning line. Venus appears largest in the image because it’s closer to Earth.

Finally, the red giant star Aldebaran, marks the end of the line-up. The name Aldebaran is derived from the Arabic word for ‘follower’ and may have been given the moniker because it appears to tag behind the Pleiades cluster in the sky.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

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