Picture of the Day: A Nebula Loses Its Characteristic Shape

northamericannebula.jpg

This is an image of the North America Nebula, which gets its name because it looks so much like the continent North America. No? That's because this image, taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, captures the nebula's infrared light. Visible light cannot penetrate dust clouds, which carve out an outline that looks similar to the continent. Below, a side-by-side comparison of the nebula's appearance in visible and infrared light.

800px-North_America_Nebula_Disappears.jpg

Images: 1. NASA; 2. Wikimedia Commons.
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Technology

Just In