Milky Way and rock art

No one knows for sure what ancient culture drew this rock art.

A rock face, with petroglyphs, and the Milky Way above.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | Photo of Milky Way and petroglyphs by Marc Toso. Thank you, Marc!

Marc Toso of AncientSkys captured this image on March 17, 2019, at Gold Butte National Monument in southeastern Nevada. It was early morning, just as dawn was beginning to break. He said he captured 20 sequential photos to create this composite image, and he wrote:

This image of the Milky Way and the rock art was taken just as true night ended, when the sun is less than 18 degrees below the eastern horizon. Hence the bluish sky, which is due to the phenomenon Rayleigh scattering, which is the scattering of sunlight via particles in the atmosphere. This does not occur during true night …

All illumination on the petroglyphs is a mixture of weak sunlight and starlight.

According to the website OutDoorProject.com, the history of the petroglyphs in this region is unknown. But it is known that:

Western Anasazi inhabited this area several thousand years ago, and more recently Southern Paiute Indians traveled through here. The petroglyphs may date anywhere from 700 to several thousand years old.

Read more from Marc about this photo.

Learn more about hikes to rock art sites in Gold Butte National Monument.

Bottom line: A nighttime photo of petroglyphs at Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada.

Deborah Byrd