Light pillars form when a bright light (from the sun, the moon or man-made light sources) reflects off the surfaces of millions of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds. The pillars, which are often mistaken for UFO sightings, are typically seen in polar regions and they might lengthen or brighten as you gaze at them.
Photographer Jay Callaghan shot the beautiful photo below, on his back deck in 25 February at 1:45 am , as he was looking northeast toward Chemong Road in Peterborough, Ontario.
Photo by Yosuke Kashiwakura
The crows that live in Tokyo build their nests out of metal clothes-hangers. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows steal hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art based on the theme of recycling.
Lake Natron takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.
Photographer Nick Brandt, while in Tanzania, discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”
Physicist and artist Todd Johnson makes shockfossils, lightning-style sculptures, created with a 5 million volt particle accelerator.
The rare phenomenon occurs each winter in the man-made lake, Abraham Lake, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Bubbles are created as the plants on the lake bed release methane gas, which freezes as it comes closer to the cold lake surface. That is, until spring comes and the ice starts to thaw.
Photos by Chip Phillips/Rex Features.
The breathtaking limestone caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, are home to hundreds of thousands of the beetles – which light up the caverns like bright blue stars. The caves are a perfect breeding ground for glow-worms, which can only survive in very dark, damp places where their light can be seen.
Solitary bees do not live within a hive with a queen. There are males and females. A fertilized female makes a nest in wood or stone and bored into the wood in order to construct a nursery.
Lake Retba, which runs through Senegal, West Africa, gets its color from an unusually high salt content—in some up to 40-percent! Microbiologist Michael Danson says that the water gets its candy-colored hue from the salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina (an algae). “They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink,” he told the Daily Mail.
Digital images by Harvard physics and chemistry professor Eric J. Heller. His digital abstract art is inspired by a world we cannot directly see; the quantum realm of electrons, atoms, and molecules. The strange, often chaotic quantum domain yields forms, which he uses as a medium, creating images which convey the mystery of quantum physics.
Art has a unique capacity convey insights, intuitively and emotionally, about complex subject matter. If there is a short circuit to wisdom, it is through art. I try to exploit the powers of art to relate secrets of Nature only recently uncovered. A key element in my work is exploitation of Nature’s almost narcissistic self-similarity, her repetition of pattern on vastly different scales and in radically different contexts.
Every year, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition highlights the beauty and complexity of the world as seen through the light microscope. The top 20 pictures for 2011 focus on a wide range of biological and geological subjects, with a little fun thrown in.
Greg Dunn is working on a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, but he uses the materials that he encounters in his work to create some of the world’s most unusual works of art. He admits “It was a fine day when two of my passions came together upon the realization that the elegant forms of neurons (the cells that comprise your brain) can be painted expressively in the Asian sumi-e style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they possess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of the medium (trees, flowers, and animals).”
The baobab is found in the savannas of Africa and Madagascar, mostly around the equator. It can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for several thousand years. The baobab is leafless for nine months of the year. If you were to describe the baobab, you would say that it looks like it has been picked out of the ground and stuffed back in upside-down.
(Photo credit: Tõnu Pihelgas)
Absolutely stunning photos captured by astronomer Oleg Bartunov on a recent journey through the Himalyas. His two images show almost the whole spectrum of the rainbow in a natural event rarely recorded at Mount Everest. The phenomenon is the result of light reflected off tiny ice crystals inside the body of the cloud’s water vapour.
[Photo credit: Oleg Bartunov via Daily Mail]
In Victoria, Australia, a hauntingly beautiful phenomenon turned the Gippsland Lakes (and midnight swimmers) luminous blue. ‘ It was like we were playing with radioactive paint,’ said photographer Phil Hart who snapped the bizarre sight as his friends emerged from the lake in the dark of night.
The lake’s light was caused by a microorganism that happened to be in abnormally high supply when Hart snapped these amazing photos in 2009. The harmless “Noctiluca Scintillans” microorganism lights up when the lake water is disturbed. To capture the glowing photos, Hart put his camera on a slow shutter speed and threw sand and stones into the lake water.
There are some surprising phenomena that occur in nature but often times these brilliant phenomena happen so rarely. Clouds that can take on varied shapes and startling optical illusions that produce strange weather appearances and catch our attention.
Sundog Light Phenomenon
A solar phenomenon known as a sundog arcs over the tundra in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Sundogs are fairly common occurrences in the Arctic and Antarctic. They form when the sun is near the horizon and ice crystals high in the sky line up in a way that bends the solar rays like a prism. (Image credit Norbert Rosing)
The garden was set up by Charles Jencks, together with his wife Maggie Keswick and is located at Portrack House, Scotland. It is inspired by science and mathematics, as Jencks uses landscape and design to shed light on the way we perceive the Universe.
(Photo: Paulus Maximus!)
Many insects use camouflage and mimicry as a means either for defense or to gain other advantages. Some might appear to be more threatening or more benign than they really are, and some might appear to be just something else than what they really are!
Producer Peter Chin used a combination of three-dimensional ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras to capture the process from conception to birth of a number of animals including elephants, dolphins, dogs, and penguins. It was filmed for a National Geographic Documentary called ‘Extraordinary Animals in the Womb’.
Seth Putterman and colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles used a motor to unwind a roll of sticky tape and recorded the electromagnetic emissions. Ripping the tape from its roll at 3 centimetres per second generated X-ray bursts of 15 kiloelectronvolts – each lasting one-billionth of a second, and containing over a million photons.
The researchers were able to prove the presence of the X-rays by producing pictures of their finger bones. Even peeling ordinary sticky tape can generate bursts of X-rays intense enough to produce an image of the bones in your fingers.
The Norrkoping VIsualization Center and Center for Medical Image Science & Visualization (CMIV) have collaborated on a new product called the “Virtual Autopsy Table”, allowing interactive visualization and manipulation of Dual Energy Computed Tomography and MRI datasets.
Visitors control the autopsy table presentation on a small satellite screen attached to the table. Each step of the medical examiner’s procedure is outlined, from the external exam to opening the body and organ dissection. As a medical examiner explains the examination process, tools, technologies, and techniques are introduced and the life-size projected body is dissected before the audience surrounding the table. The 3-D visualizations were made possible through the use of the data in the Visible Human Project.
The Virtual Autopsy Table from NorrköpingsVisualiseringscenter on Vimeo.