09/28/2011 06:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 27, 2011

Asteroid 'Marches' Across Tadpole Nebula (PHOTO)

If you look closely at this infrared image of the Tadpole nebula, located in the Auriga constellation some 12,000 light-years from Earth, you might just be able to see a 12-mile diameter asteroid "marching" across the nebula.

It's the series of yellow-green dots at the top-center of the image, just above what looks like an orange swirl in the center. According to NASA, two natural satellites can also be seen in the image, but their green trails are less visible than the asteroid's.

A nebula is a cloud of dust and ionized gases that can give birth to stars. The image of a nebula was composed by combining 25 individual frames taken by NASA's WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) telescope.

NASA explains the nebula's name:

It is called the Tadpole nebula because the masses of hot, young stars are blasting out ultraviolet radiation that has etched the gas into two tadpole-shaped pillars, called Sim 129 and Sim 130. These "tadpoles" appear as the yellow squiggles near the center of the frame. The knotted regions at their heads are likely to contain new young stars.

Russell Croman, an astrophotographer, has a close-up image of the "tadpoles" posted on his site.

And don't worry if you can't see the asteroid or the satellites. The folks over at have posted an image with boxes highlighting their exact locations.

NASA's WISE satellite was launched in 2009 to map the celestial sky, and is currently hibernating after mapping the entire sky twice. Last week, NASA released data from the WISE satellite contradicting the theory that the Baptistina asteroid was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Think you've got an eye for spotting images in nebulae? See if you can spot the "angry bird" in the "Running Chicken Nebula."

LOOK: Asteroid Caught Marching Across Tadpole Nebula: