<p>Seen in visible light, the star known as Zeta Ophiuchi is dim, red, and surrounded by inky blackness. But in infrared the star becomes a bright blue ball of fire topped with a glowing "mustache" of interstellar dust, as seen in a new picture from <a id="ckb3" title="NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE" href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/main/index.html">NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE</a>, telescope.</p><p>Astronomers think Zeta Ophiuchi was once part of a stellar duo known as a binary pair. Then the companion star exploded, releasing Zeta Ophiuchi to go flying away on a fast-tracked solo act through space. The star is now plowing through a cloud of dust and gas at 15 miles (24 kilometers) a second. As the star moves, its powerful radiation is compressing the gas and dust in its path, creating a bow shock that shines in infrared.</p>

Star With a 'Stache

Seen in visible light, the star known as Zeta Ophiuchi is dim, red, and surrounded by inky blackness. But in infrared the star becomes a bright blue ball of fire topped with a glowing "mustache" of interstellar dust, as seen in a new picture from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, telescope.

Astronomers think Zeta Ophiuchi was once part of a stellar duo known as a binary pair. Then the companion star exploded, releasing Zeta Ophiuchi to go flying away on a fast-tracked solo act through space. The star is now plowing through a cloud of dust and gas at 15 miles (24 kilometers) a second. As the star moves, its powerful radiation is compressing the gas and dust in its path, creating a bow shock that shines in infrared.

Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Space Pictures This Week: Bow Shock, Mars Moon, More

A speeding star makes waves, a pitted moon gets its closeup, Jupiter's scar is diagnosed, and more in the week's best space pictures.

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