This Spectacular Nebula Is Not In Space

By Jesus Diaz on at

This photo was taken from space, but it's not a galaxy or a nebula. It's a massive phytoplankton bloom off the coast of South Africa, just when the Atlantic and the Indian oceans meet.

Right now it's summer in that part of the world. The phytoplankton—photosynthesising microscopic organisms that have chlorophyll in their cells—is thriving thanks to the extended light times and the release of nutrients trapped in the melting ice.

The true-color image was captured by NASA's Terra satellite using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. [NASA Goddard]