The plume from the Icelandic volcano - seen as a grey-brown streak drifting across the middle of the image - is visible from space. It was imaged by the Modis instruments on two Nasa satellites as it blew towards the Shetland Islands
Created deep in the volcanic bowels of Iceland, this is the dramatic plume of ash engulfing the UK as seen from space.
The hazy cloud spewing from the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano was captured by the Modis instrument on board Nasa's Terra and Aqua satellites, which view the entire Earth's surface once every two days.
Modis was designed to respond rapidly so it can track natural disasters such as floods and forest fires in near real time.
In this natural-colour image taken yesterday, we can see the volcanic plume moving south-easterly from southern Iceland. It blows past the Faroe Islands and arcs slightly towards the north near the Shetland Islands. The tan hue indicates a fairly high ash content.
The spread of volcanic ash prompted authorities in the UK, Ireland, France, and Scandinavia to close airspace over their countries. The airspace closure had a ripple effect, disrupting flights all over the world.
Unlike the soft, fluffy material that results from burned vegetation, volcanic ash consists of tiny jagged particles of rock. Once sucked into an aeroplane's turbines, the abrasive material can easily cause engine failure, but an aircraft's weather radar can't spot the ash because it is dry.
The scream: A radar image shows the crater of Eyjafjallajokull in southeast Iceland, which looks like the nightmarish face painted by Edvard Munch
It is not known how long the airspace closures will last because it depends on how long the volcano continues to erupt as well as wind direction.
Meanwhile, a radar image of the volcanic crater appears to show a nightmarish face, which is reminscent of Edvard Munch's painting 'The Scream.' Coincidentally, it is thought that the masterpiece was inspired by the blood red skies caused by the powerful volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.
In his diary Mr Munch wrote: 'I was walking along a path with two friends - the sun was setting - suddenly the sky turned blood red - I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence - there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city - my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety - and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.'
The picture was taken by the ELTA radar from an Icelandic Coast Guard airplane.
© AFP/Getty Images
Close-up: The dark cloud of smoke coming from the Icelandic crater as seen by an Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter
Eyjafjallajökull is a stratovolcano composed of alternating layers of ash, lava, and rocks ejected by earlier eruptions. This volcano rises to a height of 5,466ft above sea level. It began erupting for the first time in 190 years on March 20, 2010.
The eruption opened a 2,000ft fissure, and also produced lava fountains that built several hills of bubble-filled lava rocks, called scoria, along the vent.
Experts fear that the current eruption could trigger a much larger explosion of nearby Mount Katla.
Katla is described as 'enormously powerful', and because it lies under a glacier its eruption would cause a huge glacial outburst flood and could spread its shadow over a much larger area.