A colorful new snapshot of the star-forming region Rho Ophiuchi captures a mix of different types of nebulas, or interstellar clouds of gas and dust.
Seen in the infrared by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE, the bright white region at the center of the frame is an emission nebula, one that glows even in visible light because its gases are being heated by nearby stars. By contrast, the red region at bottom right shines because cooler dust is reflecting the light from a central star, creating a reflection nebula.
Darker areas scattered throughout the image are pockets of cool, dense gas that block out background light, resulting in absorption nebulas.
Image courtesy UCLA/JPL-Caltech/NASA/
Psychedelic ripples illustrate the relative deformation of the ground around Hawaii's Kilauea volcano following recent eruptions. Created by a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the picture is based on radar data captured between February 11 and March 7 by a suite of Italian satellites.
The jets are ejecting knots of gas and dust from a sphere of material surrounding the still-forming star. Spitzer's data helped astronomers figure out that one jet spurts material from the sphere 4.5 years before its counterpart, an unexpected discovery that may shed light on the process of star formation.
In early spring, rivers laden with sediment flow from the French mainland into the Bay of Biscay, discoloring the blue water with shades of tan, according to NASA.
Upwelling water also rises along the coasts in spring and summer, bringing sediment from the floor of the continental shelf toward the surface. This nutrient-rich water contributes to algae blooms, adding shades of green to the bright display. (See "'Crazy Green' Algae Pools Seen in Antarctic Sea.")
Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/GSFC/NASA
Both sporting large craters in their northern hemispheres, Saturn's moons Rhea (left) and Dione look like carbon copies of each other in a newly released picture from NASA's Cassini orbiter.
At 949 miles (1,528 kilometers) wide, Rhea is one of Saturn's largest moons, second only to hazy Titan. Although it appears significantly smaller in this image, Dione is actually 698 miles (1,123 kilometers) wide.
The fire grew quickly due to strong winds, and by the following day it had burned through about 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) of forest in steep, rocky terrain, destroying five homes and several outbuildings, according to New Mexico Fire Information.
Image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team/Goddard Space Flight Center