A Combination of Volcanic Smog and Sunglint Is Breathtaking

You're looking at a picture of the Vanuatu Archipelago in Australia, shrouded in vog—a word used to describe the kind of volcanic smog which is formed when gases from a volcano react with sunlight, oxygen and moisture.

The results are stunning. You can see the vog as a light blue-gray plume which arcs from the volcanic island. The other feature in the image is a band of silver-gray, running north-south, called "sunglint" – the reflection of the sun off the ocean as the image is acquired by the satellite. The image of Vanuatu Archipelago—a collection of volcanic islands about 1,100 miles northeast of Australia—was captured by NASA's Aqua satellite earlier this month. [NASA]