What the Heck Is This?

There's been so much of this sort of thing in the news lately you might have seen this image. If not, no hints.

Give up? Read on…

It's a close-up of the rising ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano, as seen from space. The full image is below.

The ash cloud rose 12 miles (20 km) into the air this week. You may remember the even-harder-to-spell Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted last year and disrupted air travel over Europe. Grimsvotn's ash cloud has already reached a higher altitude, according to NASA.

(Truth be told, you might have seen this image on our site yesterday or today.)

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At approximately 17:30 UTC (5:30 p.m. local time) on May 21, 2011, Grimsvotn began to erupt on Iceland. This is a view of the towering ash plume viewed from a Terra satellite. To the southeast (blow and right of the plume), ash has colored the snow surface dark brown, the lower part of the image is dominated by the Atlantic Ocean and clouds unrelated to the volcano.
At approximately 17:30 UTC (5:30 p.m. local time) on May 21, 2011, Grimsvotn began to erupt on Iceland. This is a view of the towering ash plume viewed from a Terra satellite. To the southeast (blow and right of the plume), ash has colored the snow surface dark brown, the lower part of the image is dominated by the Atlantic Ocean and clouds unrelated to the volcano.
Credit: NASA GSFC