The Japanese city of Nara is renown for its deer. Thanks to their legendary history, they’re regarded as heavenly animals, messengers of the gods according to Shinto belief, and guardians of both the city and Japan itself. A population of over 1000 remarkably tame Sika Deer reside in Nara Park, where they roam freely and visitors may feed them special biscuits, and every summer they do something strange and awesome. They leave the park and swarm the streets, lounging together on the sidewalks and sometimes right in the road, looking like they haven’t got a care in the world and the middle of the road is the perfect place to be.
"…with the deer strolling out of the park to “enjoy the coolness of the street.” Given that the concrete sidewalk and asphalt road surface would ordinarily retain heat during the summertime, we’re guessing that the surrounding cityscape and topography creates either a cooling wind tunnel or an inviting patch of shade.
Although it might seem like an alarming event, Nara residents seem very used to the presence of the deer. It’s been happening for so long now that the city posts warning signs to drivers about deer crossing the road. No one honks at them or suddenly swerves to avoid them. We’d be so amazed by the sight of them that people would be honking at us for blocking traffic ourselves.
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has seen a cluster of newborn stars enclosed in a cocoon of dust and gas in the constellation Camelopardalis. The cluster, AFGL 490, is hidden from view in visible light by the cloud. But WISE’s infrared vision sees the glow of the dust itself, and penetrates this dust to see the infant stars within.
Not much is known about this stealthy star cluster. Its distance from Earth is estimated to be about 2,300 light-years. The portion of the star-forming nebula captured in this view stretches across about 62 light-years of space.
All four infrared detectors aboard WISE were used to make this mosaic. Color is representational: blue and cyan represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is dominated by light from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 microns, which is mostly light from warm dust.