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Volcanoes, Vog, and Vortices by NASA
Volcanoes, Vog, and Vortices by NASA on the Depict FrameVolcanoes, Vog, and Vortices by NASA

Volcanoes, Vog, and Vortices, 2015


A swirl of brilliant white, like a question mark written backwards, dominates the center of this image. It’s offset by a brilliant expanse of ocean blue, curved at the top left edge, which clues us in to the fact that this is in fact an aerial view of Earth. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured the Hawaiian Islands with long swirls of wafting volcanic gases. The haze, or “vog”, is a combination of fog, smog, and volcanic gas. Its subtle but distinct alternating swirls call to mind the expressive and painterly sky of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

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