Once again, our planet reminds us that it never sits still. Iceland’s Grimsvötn volcano blew an immense plume of ash 11 km (7 miles) straight up to the stratosphere last Saturday, giving rise to some amazing photographs like this one (featured in The Economist). Since the plume easily cleared all cloud layers, orbiting weather satellites recorded it as well. You can see the photo animations from two different satellites on Bad Astronomy; I thought the oblique angle was most impressive.
And because you knew there had to be video, check out this awesome footage from Jon Gustafsson, who shot it from a helicopter just before dark, assembled the video during the ride back to Reykjavik, and posted it online a few hours after landing.
As geeky as I am, I’m still frequently amazed at what technology has put at our fingertips. A volcano erupts somewhere on the planet and within hours we can see it from ground level, mid-air, and orbit, all from our laptops and smartphones. Wow.