“Where In the Universe” Challenge #17

Article written: 20 Aug , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for another “Where In The Universe” Challenge. Take a look at the image above and try to determine where in the universe this image was taken. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for taking this image. As always, no peeking below for the before you make your guess. Our readers have been having a blast with this challenge, and we hope this one will evoke more eruptions of cheers and enjoyment.

This is a small volcano island here on Earth, found in the Aleutian Islands. But tiny Kasatochi Volcano created a big mess in recently by spewing ash and sulfur dioxide over the surrounding area. The volcano erupted with little warning on August 7, 2008. No one was hurt, but two biologists were evacuated from the island just hours before the eruption. According to the Associated Press, the ash forced Alaska Airlines to cancel 44 flights between Alaska, Canada, and the continental United States. Until the eruption, the steep-sided volcano harbored a small lake inside its 314-meter (1000-foot) summit, and vegetation (red in this image) covered the slopes. Cliffs along the shoreline may be the result of erosion from heavy surf, visible as a white fringe around the island. Kasatochi had not erupted in at least 200 years.

This image, composed of near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light, was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite in 2003.

Here’s a link to some images showing Kasatochi during the eruption.

NASA image and caption by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team and found on the NASA Earth Observatory website.

17 Responses

  1. Jorge says

    This is the Earth. A small volcanic island, probably in some island chain, can’t say which one.

    As for the spacecraft, and since this looks very, very much like a false-colour photo highlighting vegetation, I’d venture a guess of the Terra satellite.

    Let’s see now…

    Yes! Nailed one Earth photo for a change! 🙂

  2. RL says

    I guessed Earth. Got that part right. But I didn’t know the island and guessed ISS. At least I got close!

  3. Ed says

    My parents were visiting friends in Anchorage and had to extend their stay because their airline flight was canceled due to concerns about the ash. So they had to stay an extra three days…in Alaska…in August. Oh darn!

  4. David R. says

    Well, I guessed Earth…but had no idea what spacecraft…too many!

  5. Joseph says


    Anyone? Anyone?

    Tough crowed…..

  6. DuddleyFuddle says

    I picked the red-eye galaxy by Hubble. Oh well…

  7. Navneeth says

    Volcano…yes, or perhaps some aerial shot of a parachute 🙂
    Spacecraft…I had absolutely no idea

  8. DGavin says

    That is the Kasatochi Island in the Alutian Island Chain between Alaska and Russia

    (I have an unfair advantage though, I’m Bad Atronomy’s resident amature Vulcanologist)

  9. dj says

    It looks like a volcanic island. The picture might have been taken by a weather satellite or a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

    Why the redish texture?

  10. Govinda says

    i guessed volcanic island in pacific but ISS
    close. was the hint in the lead in necessary?

  11. LLDIAZ says

    Looks like a parachute falling from a space ship towards deep space.

  12. astrocrazy says

    I guessed a volcano maybe in Mars because of the red color and then thought maybe in someother moons… 🙁
    No luck this time…

  13. Nexus says

    Got the planet, had no idea what spacecraft took the photo.

  14. neoguru says

    No fair! We should be told if it’s a false color image. Hmph. I took it for a hot air balloon but was not confident of the guess. I could swear I see stars. My 6th missed guess.

  15. Kootstar says

    Knew it was a volcano in the ocean with a lake in the cauldron, but which satelite?… what type camera? No go. I can even (if top is north) tell you that right then the wind was NNW. Gorgeous photo! Am in love with this guessing game of articles. I’m learning from it and enjoying the challenge as well.

  16. Kootstar says

    P.S. If that red was vegitation, what does it look like now? Comparison shot would be intrigueing.

  17. ToSeek says

    I think it’s that starship-eating blob from classic Trek.

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