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Go virtual stargazing down under

In case you need another reason to dream about a vacation down under, check out this stunning time lapse video of the Milky Way seen over the Southern Ocean made by amateur astronomer Alex Cherney of Melbourne, Australia.

The video compresses 31 hours of viewing time into 2.5 minutes that show our galaxy rising and setting over the ocean as clouds sweep across the skies and distant ships blink on the horizon. Beyond the Milky Way, the Magellanic clouds rise and moonrise illuminates Australia's south coast.

Cherney's effort won the grand prize in the STARMUS astrophotography competition. "The scenes are chosen with the eye of an artist, but the subtle panning and excellent control of color and contrast reveal technical skills of a high order," the organizers of the astronomy festival said in a news release announcing the winner.

More stunning time lapse imagery:

Tip o' the Log to Wired Science

John Roach is a contributing writer for Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).