This stunning image captures the clouds of the Milky Way and the glow of the rising moon framing an iconic lighthouse in Maine.
Astrophotographer Jon Secord took this image from Pemaquid Lighthouse in Pemaquid, Maine on June 21.
“At 2am [the clouds] finally cleared, and I was able to get a photo of the Milky Way, while the moon rose and illuminated the Rosa Rugosa in the foreground. Another beautiful night under the stars,” Secord wrote in an email to Space.com.
The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy spanning between 100,000 to 120,000 light-years in diameter. Roughly 400 billion stars populate the galaxy. The dazzling band we see from Earth is the center portion of the galaxy where a gigantic black hole billions of times the size of the sun resides. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy (Gallery )]
"It's not often things line up so perfectly...would the photo come out good? The anxiety, the excitement- that is what I live for," Secord added.
Secord used a Canon 6D, and a Tokina 16-28 f2.8. Multiple exposures are made to collect enough light for an image that would otherwise not be evident to the eye.
To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.
Editor's Note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.