Nature displays a remarkable economy of form as displayed on the left by the striking similarity of Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring to the Hubble Heritage project's new rendering of NGC 3132, below. Though the two physical systems are completely different, the reasons for the similarity of the images do share some common threads. In the Grand Prismatic Spring the colors are produced by different species of thermophilic bacteria that live in narrow temperature ranges as the waters of the hot spring naturally cool farther from the source of the heated water. The reddish bacteria at the outer edge survive in the coolest water with the yellowish and greenish bacteria living in progressively hotter water. The water in the central blue area of the spring is too hot to support any of the bacterial species.
Image Copyright: Bonne Sue Photography