Stars and Oil: Milky Way Shines Over Texas Oilfield (Photo)

Milky Way from South Texas
Astrophotographer Matt Smith captured this image of the Milky Way near Batesville in South Texas on May 25, 2015. (Image credit: Matt Smith)

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

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.

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"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 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 and its news partners, you can send in photos and comments in to managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.