Southern Cross at Sea: Astrophotographer Shoots Stunning Image While on Ship

Wide Angle of Southern Cross by Redfern
This wide angle of the Southern Cross was captured by Greg Redfern while aboard the Azamara Quest while she was underway in the Coral Sea-Great Barrier Reef. (Image credit: Greg Redfern)

Like many astrophotographers, Greg Redfern takes images of the night sky. But his unique view, from a ship on the ocean, lends a particular style to his images.

"I give astro-space lectures on cruise ships so I took my astrophotography passion with me to sea and the results have been quite gratifying," Redfern wrote in an email to

Redfern took this image of the Southern Cross on Feb. 17, 2016 while aboard the Azamara Quest in the Coral Sea-Great Barrier Reef. The image shows the Coal Sack, the Southern Cross, Eta Carinae and various young star clusters as well as the Milky Way. There are numerous dust streamers visible as well. [Exploring the Famous Southern Cross Constellation]

The four main stars of the famous Southern Cross constellation are Acrux, Becrux, Gacrux, and Delta Crucis. Like the Big Dipper of the northern sky, the Southern Cross indicates the location of the pole and as such is often utilized by navigators.

For this wide angle shot Redfern used a Nikon 14mm f/2.8 at a 13 second exposure at ISO 5000. And his images are dependent on sea conditions.

"If there is too much motion in the ocean I don't even try to get a pic unless it is of the sea or clouds or weather," he said.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.