Striking satellite photo captures Mount Vesuvius peering through a hole in the clouds

In this image captured Jan. 2 by the Landsat 8 satellite Mount Vesuvius is clearly visible through a circular hole in the clouds. (Image credit: Joshua Stevens/Landsat/NASA Earth Observatory)

One of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius, appears to “peer up” into the sky through an eerily circular hole in the clouds in this striking satellite image.

The Operational Land Imager onboard the Landsat-8 satellite snapped the photo, which was released Jan. 10 by NASA’s Earth Observatory. The volcano’s summit caldera — a large bowl-like depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses — is clearly visible in the new image, as well as a section of large mountainous ridge to the north, which is a remnant of Mount Somma — an ancient volcano that once stood in the same spot as Mount Vesuvius, before the newer volcano’s cone grew from it’s center.