The Andromeda galaxy appears to shine behind two stunning meteors in this amazing photograph captured by a veteran night sky photographer in California.
Astrophotographer Casey James took this image, which he entitled "Lookout," earlier this year on Aug. 2. He took the image from Tobias Lookout near Kernville, California.
"The city lights you see in the distance are from Porterville and Delano, California nearly 50 miles away," he wrote in an email to Space.com. James posts his amazing night sky photos on Instagram, where you can follow him under the name: @caseyjamesphotography.
In this image, the two meteors and Andromeda galaxy can be seen at the top of the panoramic view of the Milky Way, our home galaxy.
The Andromeda galaxy is the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbor and is the most distant object in the sky that you can see with your unaided eye. It is about 2.5 million light-years from Earth. But to see it, observers need extremely clear night sky conditions well away from the light pollution of city lights.
The spiral Andromeda galaxy contains a bulge of matter in the center surrounded by a disk of gas, dust, and stars that is about 260,000 light-years across, more than 2.5 times as long as the Milky Way. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). Together, the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies.
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.