This dramatic artist's conception, released January 2 by the European Southern Observatory, illustrates an early stage in the growth of a gas giant.
The image shows the star HD 142527, in the center, surrounded by two rings of gas and debris—the inner (orange-yellow) ring and an incomplete outer ring that forms more of a horseshoe shape around the young star.
Gray areas (left and lower right) in this natural-color picture indicate lava fields that have cooled enough to allow snow accumulation, while fresh lava appears black. The steaming fissures (center) are located on Tolbachik's southern flank. (Read an article about Kamchatka salmon in National Geographic magazine.
Image courtesy Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, EO-1/USGS/NASA