Lucky Southern Hemisphere observers get to see something that many northerners never see: the Magellanic Clouds. And lucky Namibians get to see the camel thorn trees in DeadVlei. And If you are as lucky as me then you get to see them both under a fabulous night sky!! DeadVlei is the iconic posterchild of Namibia, and those who visit this country will always pay obeisance here. The dead camelthorns seen at DeadVlei have stood here for the last 1000 years or so. The claypan in which they stand was formed by the flooding of the Tsauchab river and the trees thrived in the waters of the river. When the river finally dried out, the trees died leaving behind skeletons, scorched black by the intense desert sun. The cloud of stars seen in the sky is the Large Magellanic cloud. Only visible in the Southern Hemisphere, they are circumpolar and can be seen throughout the year. History usually credits 15th-century Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan with discovering these hazy star-clouds and he used them to navigate the southern oceans, and in time the clouds became known by his name. Not seen in this image is the Small Magellanic cloud which lies about 20° to the right and above of it’s bigger brother.
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