Milky Way & Bolivia (Image Credit: Xiaohua Zhao)

In a stunning image by Xiaohua Zhao, the heart of the Milky Way galaxy is projected onto the surface of Earth by a thin layer of water that stretches farther than the eye can see—wherein the universe and our planet are one and the same.

Taken from a Bolivian Salt Flat—the largest in the world, called Salar de Uyuni—a stargazer stands in the center of the frame, seemingly walking on water. Of course, this is just an illusion. Salt flats, which contain salt and various other reflective minerals, are very, very shallow when water is present. This particular one encompasses 4,086 square miles (10,582 square kilometers), and—coupled with Bolivia's dark skies—is especially beautiful at night.

Because the image put Zhao on the shortlist for astronomy photographer of the year, this one has been making rounds lately, but on the off chance that you haven't seen it yet, I'm passing it along anyway. We'll also be covering more in the coming days.

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