Milky Way Arc over Courthouse Butte
This photo was shot from the top of Baby Bell Rock in early July when the Milky Way is at its best. In the foreground are Castle Rock on the far right, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte. The glow over Bell Rock is from lights in the Village of Oak Creek. The brightest oblect in the night sky, just right of the summit of Bell Rock is Mars, and the second brightest, left and slightly above Mars is Saturn. The apparent split in the Milky Way (the Great Rift aka Cygnus Split), is due to a light blocking molecular dust cloud lying between the Earth and galatic center. The Milky Way is estimated to contain 100-400 billion stars, and at least 100 billon planets. The unseen center of the Milky Way, located on the left arm at the top of Courthouse Butte level, is believes to be a supermassive black hole.