<p>A colorful new snapshot of the star-forming region Rho Ophiuchi captures a mix of different types of nebulas, or interstellar clouds of gas and dust.</p><p>Seen in the infrared by <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/main/index.html">NASA's Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE</a>, the bright white region at the center of the frame is an emission nebula, one that glows even in visible light because its gases are being heated by nearby stars. By contrast, the red region at bottom right shines because cooler dust is reflecting the light from a central star, creating a reflection nebula.</p><p>Darker areas scattered throughout the image are pockets of cool, dense gas that block out background light, resulting in absorption nebulas.</p>

Nebula Mixer

A colorful new snapshot of the star-forming region Rho Ophiuchi captures a mix of different types of nebulas, or interstellar clouds of gas and dust.

Seen in the infrared by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE, the bright white region at the center of the frame is an emission nebula, one that glows even in visible light because its gases are being heated by nearby stars. By contrast, the red region at bottom right shines because cooler dust is reflecting the light from a central star, creating a reflection nebula.

Darker areas scattered throughout the image are pockets of cool, dense gas that block out background light, resulting in absorption nebulas.

Image courtesy UCLA/JPL-Caltech/NASA/

Space Pictures This Week: Star Jets, Saturn Moons

A nebula "party" shines in infrared, a star makes twin jets, colors swirl off the French coast, and more in the week's best space pictures.

DON'T MISS THE REST OF THIS STORY!
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19
SUBSCRIBE

Read This Next

'World’s worst shipwreck' was bloodier than we thought
World’s first ultrasounds of wild manta rays reveal a troubling truth
Titanic was found during secret Cold War Navy mission

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet