The Milky Way illuminates a pump jack working at night in Texas. While oil fields through the state are well lit, this landscape shot captures the spectacular night sky.
Astrophotographer Matt Smith captured this image near Batesville in South Texas on May 25. "With the wild weather and abundant clouds, night photography has been hard. But last night, the weather cooperated and I was able to catch a break at work," Smith wrote in an email to Space.com.
Our host galaxy, the Milky Way, is a barred spiral galaxy seen as a band of light in the night sky. It stretches between 100, 000 and 120,000 light-years in diameter. It is estimated that the galaxy has approximately 400 billion stars. At the center of our galaxy lies a gigantic black hole billions of times the size of the sun. [See More Stunning Photos of the Milky Way]
The location was another advantage for Smith.
"If you can get away from the light pollution of cities and oil field locations, South Texas has some spectacular skies," he added.
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 with Space.com and its news partners, you can send in photos and comments in to managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.
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