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Moonlight Peace   -  By: Babak A. Tafreshi

Exclusive to National Geographic Fine Art galleries

One of the most peaceful places on Earth is La Palma, Canary Island, a paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and stargazers, with just a little bit of light pollution. The natural starry sky is now hidden from 2/3rds of human population due to the lights we send to the sky, so places like La Palma (and many of the US national parks) are last remaining dark sky refuges. From all the dark sky places I have photographed in all continents La Palma is one of my favorites due to the amazing combination of landscape and sky beauty. I go there every year to do an international nightscape photography workshop.

Here a pine forest appears under quarter moon (50% moon) which turned sky to blue. Also visible are the neighboring island, the Atlantic Ocean, and constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog) with Sirius (the dog star) which is the brightest star in the Earth night sky (not accounting brighter planets such as Venus or Jupiter). Sirius is bright due to its close cosmic distance to us, only 8 light years away. It has been an important star in all ancient cultures, the goddess Sopdet in Egypt announcing the Nile floods, the fertility angel Tishtar in Persian mythology, and so on. Near the horizon is the southern star Canopus, the second brightest in the night sky. However it doesn't rise high from this latitude of 28-degree north.


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