Glittering Milky Way Peeks Through Arches in Utah National Park (Photo)
Astrophotographer Ken Lee took the image of the glittering Milky Way from Arches National Park in Utah.
Credit: Ken Lee

The Milky Way peeks through double arches as if behind a celestial curtain in this skywatcher image.

Astrophotographer Ken Lee took the image from Arches National Park in Utah.

"Feeling like an explorer on a new world in Arches National Park, Utah, watching the Milky Way drift toward the south as night progresses," Lee wrote. [The 101 Best Night Sky Photos of 2015]

The Milky Way galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy with roughly 400 billion stars, including our sun. The stars, along with gas and dust, appear like a band of light in the sky from Earth. The galaxy stretches between 100,000 to 120,000 light-years in diameter. At the center of our galaxy lies a gigantic black hole billions of times the size of the sun. 

The odd rocky formations in the distance are the rocks near the Windows Arches and Turret Arch. The archway extends up approximately 104 feet (31 m), with a span of 148 feet (45 m). The enormity of the arches become even more pronounced when one can see the photographer in the bottom middle of the image.  As Lee said, "this is a selfie."

Dust off your spiral arms and fatten up your bulge — it's time to tap into your inner galaxy to test your smarts about the Milky Way. Our home in space is a strange and wondrous place that scientists are still trying to figure out. See what you know!
The Milky Way Galaxy is organized into spiral arms of giant stars that illuminate interstellar gas and dust. The sun is in a finger called the Orion Spur.
0 of 10 questions complete
Milky Way Quiz: Test Your Galaxy Smarts
Dust off your spiral arms and fatten up your bulge — it's time to tap into your inner galaxy to test your smarts about the Milky Way. Our home in space is a strange and wondrous place that scientists are still trying to figure out. See what you know!
The Milky Way Galaxy is organized into spiral arms of giant stars that illuminate interstellar gas and dust. The sun is in a finger called the Orion Spur.
0 of questions complete

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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