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Image of the Day: September 2013

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Credit: National Pakr Service.
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Above: The southern night sky above Ofu Island in American Samoa is a sight to behold.

Folks in the Southern Hemisphere get a brighter, richer view of the Milky Way due to their location on the globe. If you want to see such a sight from American soil, head to the National Park of American Samoa, where Ofu Island is located. This park is the only U.S. national park found in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our solar system. The name "milky" comes from its appearance as a dim but glowing band across the night sky. Individual stars make up the band, but they are indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Ofu is one of three islands of American territory in American Samoa. Ofu and its twin Olosega are parts of a volcanic doublet of the Samoan Islands formed from shield volcanoes. The two islands have a combined length of 3.7 miles (6 kilometers).

There are other reasons to look up when visiting Ofu Island. The forests here are home to a unique species of megabat — yes, a megabat — known as the Samoa Flying-fox. It looks just like it sounds.

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