A new cloud species, a fluorescent tree frog, and other amazing images of the week

Newsworthy eye candy

Seeing spots

Sunny side up

No, this isn't an ad for futuristic spot-reducing makeup. These are two images of our sun, with and without magnetic interference. As Popular Science explained earlier this week, the sunspots seen in the image on the left are created as pores of plasma cool certain parts of the sun's surface, while the rest is still blazing at unimaginable heat. From March 7 to 22, NASA observed the longest span of spotlessness since 2010, as seen on the right. It's not just a pretty image, it has real consequences on Earth. When the sun's behavior changes, conditions on Earth can change too, like the "little ice age" brought on by a veritable sunspot marathon in the late 1600s.NASA’s GSFC/SDO/Joy Ng
Snow blanket over the northeastern United States

Snow blanket

This true color satellite image shows most of the northeastern United States covered in snow. Scientists took three different color-sensitive channels from the VIIRS camera, which is attached to the Suomi NPP satellite, and combined them into one stunning image. The snow stretches across the region, coating three of the Great Lakes on the upper left to Long Island, New York, as it juts into the Atlantic in the bottom right. This is just one small sample of VIIRS' catalog; the machine orbits the Earth twice a day, scanning for vegetation, clouds, smoke, and other environmental factors along the way.NOAA
stratocumulus volutus clouds

Bow before volutus

This year's cloud atlas features a new species of cloud. It's called—with the characteristic Games of Thrones-style drama of cloud naming—the volutus. And, it's kind of beautiful. This image shows a stratocumulus volutus, which has a kind of fluffy terraced appearance or, in the words of Popular Science's Shrek-loving reporter Sara Chodosh: It looks like an onion, or maybe an ogre, what with its many layers.Christy Gray | International Cloud Atlas
Mount Etna in Sicily seen from the ISS

Thar she blows

Those red lines in the darkness on the left may seem little in this image from the International Space Station, but they aren't so tiny on Earth. That's Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano as it's throwing a beautiful—and terrifying—fit. An active stratovolcano on Sicily's eastern coast, Etna has been putting on light shows like this for thousands of years. While most of her previous damage has been to property, not people, an eruption on March 16 injured 10 after magma and snow collided, spewing rocks into the air. Safe to say, she still doesn't have the power to reach the crew aboard the ISS, who are orbiting about 220 miles above Earth.ESA/NASA
fluorescent tree frog

He got the green light

This little guy is the world's first fluorescent tree frog that we've ever discovered and, as Popular Science reported earlier this week, he probably doesn't even know his own smolder. The super frog's skin takes in ultraviolet light and sends it back out in the bright green fluorescent form pictured here. He's the newest addition to an elaborate secret society of glowers that spans land, but mostly sea, and includes fluorescent parrot mating marks and bioluminescent anglerfish.Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboada (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia"—CONICET)