Cosmic saguaro

Saguaro cactus in the starlight, in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona.

Looking up at a tall, backlit green cactus against a starry sky.

Image via Sean Parker.

Our Facebook friend Sean Parker – who is based in Tucson, Arizona – captured this majestic saguaro cactus on October 22, 2019. He wrote on Facebook:

Pretty stoked on this shot I got tonight! It’s something I’ve always wanted to get but never had a 50-foot [15-meter] ladder or any other way of backlighting the saguaro from so high. So I took the drone up with the lume cubes and was able to snag it in a single shot.

Thank you, Sean!

Saguaros are cool. They can grow to more than 40 feet (12 meters) tall. They can outlive us, aging to 150 years. They’re the iconic cacti seen in countless old Hollywood westerns, but they’re only found in one place on Earth: the Sonoran Desert, including about 120,000 square miles of California and Arizona. Most of Baja California and half of the state of Sonora, Mexico, is also included. Wanton destruction and harm by humans has caused a legal clampdown related to these plants. Harming a saguaro is considered a class four felony, with a possible 3 year, 9 month maximum sentence.

Sean Parker teaches night sky photography workshops. Check ’em out here.

Bottom line: Photo of a majestic saguaro cactus in the starlight.

EarthSky 2020 lunar calendars are available! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast!

Eleanor Imster