As seen in the picture, the islands (red) lie primarily along the northern edge of the submerged Caicos Bank (turquoise). The bank is a shallow platform made of limestone, sand, algae, and coral reefs that covers 2,370 square miles (6,140 square kilometers).
Image courtesy EROS/USGS/NASA
In visible light, the planetary nebula known as NGC 1514 resembles a pale jellyfish swimming through the vastness of space. But a new picture from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer shows that the cosmic jelly is trapped in a glowing "hamster wheel."
In reality, the nebula is made of two elderly stars. One object is already a type of stellar corpse called a white dwarf. The other object is a dying giant star that used to be like our sun but is now expanding and shedding its outer layers to form a bubble around both stars.
Jets of material from the white dwarf are thought to have smashed into this bubble's wall. The areas where the jets hit appear as orange rings in the WISE image, because the heated dust in the rings glows in infrared.
Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE
A deep chasm cuts through winding fault lines in the Phoenicis Lacus region of Mars, as seen in a newly released picture taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter.
Phoenicis Lacus is thought to have been formed by episodes of intense geologic activity driven by nearby volcanoes. The 1.8-mile-deep (3-kilometer-deep) pit was made when part of the landscape collapsed.
The Voyager 1 probe in the 1970s became the first to take pictures of Dione's wispy features. High-resolution images from Cassini later revealed that the bright veins are relatively young fractures in icy terrain.
When sunlike stars near death, they puff up and begin to shed their outer layers of gas, as seen above. Later the process may result in a colorful cloud of debris called a planetary nebula.
Hubble spied this nebula, dubbed IRAS 20068 4051, during a short-lived early stage, when the escaping gases are still relatively cool and so shine mostly in near-infrared. Eventually, when the star is a full-fledged planetary nebula, IRAS 20068 4051 will be hot enough to make the surrounding gas glow brightly in visible light.