Amazing

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Amazing Photography Science

A Group of Powerful Telescopes Captures the First-Ever Image of a Black Hole

April 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Image © Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al.

The first-ever recorded image of a black hole has just been released—and it doesn’t look like you might think. Though one might guess that a picture of a black hole would be not much to look at, the image shows a glowing reddish-orange ring that almost pulsates under the viewer’s gaze. This landmark visual was created using the power of the Event Horizon Telescope. As of today, the group of eight Earth-based radio telescopes has successfully captured and documented the first-ever direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

The black hole is at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. The National Science Foundation explains on their website:

Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and minuscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time. Anything that passes too close, from a wandering star to a photon of light, gets captured. Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova… Using powerful observatories on Earth, astronomers can see the jets of plasma that black holes spew into space, detect the ripples in space-time from black holes colliding, and may soon even peer at the disc of disrupted mass and energy that surrounds the black hole’s event horizon, the edge beyond which nothing can escape.

You can learn more in this press release and watch a livestream below, or on YouTube, of the National Science Foundation’s press conference on the image resulting from the Event Horizon Telescope project.

 

 



Amazing Food

Endless Layers of Colorful Candy Melt Away in a Satisfying Timelapse Video

February 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The creators of the Let’s Melt This YouTube channel are anonymous connoisseurs of melting, having put a torch to everything from flat screen TVs to hamburgers. They put a classic candy to the test, using a 1900°F blow torch to melt a famously long-lasting giant jawbreaker candy ball. The task took 3 minutes and 46 seconds, and the video itself is sped up to about a minute and a half to show the satisfying removal of colorful layers. The graffiti-splattered white coating gives way to layers of vibrant orange, yellow, blue, green, and red as the candy steadily shrinks. Let’s Melt This has been less active of late, but you can explore their archive of melts on their YouTube channel. (via The Awesomer)

 

 

 



Amazing

Freediving Champion Guillaume Néry Swims Across Several of the World’s Oceans with One Breath

February 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In the newest film by Guillaume Néry (previously), the world champion free diver swims across the world in one breath, or at least creative editing and camera tricks present the illusion of this great feat. One Breath Around the World follows Néry to the spectacular scenes he explores without a snorkel or air tank, like a variety of underwater caves or a pod of clustered whales. The film is shot by his wife Julie Gautier (previously) who was also free diving as she filmed Néry throughout France, Finland, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, and other oceanic destinations. The film was created through the pair’s production company Les Films Engloutis. You can see more of their spectacular underwater films on Vimeo. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Amazing Science

Extreme Temperatures Breed Glassy Hollow Forms Called ‘Ghost Apples’

February 15, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

You’ve seen the perfect arcs of boiling water solidified mid-throw, and perhaps this frozen speeding sign that duplicated itself over 2019’s Polar Vortex, but have you seen ghost apples? Thanks to a Facebook post by farm manager Andrew Sietsma, the phenomenon has captivated the internet, leaving commenters to marvel at the sight of these glass-like specimens that remain after apples have rotted from their icy exterior. Sietsema told CNN that this winter the weather in western Michigan was “just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water).” Jonagolds are one of Sietsema’s favorite apple varieties, but on the farm they are now referred to as “Jonaghosts.” (via Reddit and Bored Panda)

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

An Extraordinary Time-Lapse Captures the Microscopic Development of a Single Cell into a Newt

February 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In Becoming, a time-lapse film by Jan van IJken (previously), a single cell splits. Then it splits again, and again, and again, morphing and quivering as new quadrants continually appear and divide. The cell belongs to an alpine newt, and during most of its transition from a single cell zygote to hatched larva it looks remarkably like a sunny-side up egg. The film’s rapid timeline condenses four weeks of growth into six minutes, presenting a speedy and awe-inspiring glimpse at how we all begin.

“I wanted to capture the origin of life,” van IJken tells Colossal. “What is particularly interesting I think, is that the basics of embryonic development are the same for all animals, including us. I think the way we develop is a true miracle. In my film you can see individual cells move to the place where they belong in the embryo. How is this possible? It is all managed by a precise internal clockwork in each individual cell.”

Van IJken used time-lapse photography and video in combination with a trinocular microscope to precisely observe the details of the newt’s development. You can view more of his work, including a trailer for his first film Facing Animals, on Vimeo.

 

 



Amazing Art

A Recursive Series of Paintings Inspired by One Woman’s Second-Ever Work of Art

February 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Over the last two weeks, Redditors have been slowly but steadily breaking the internet’s space-time continuum with a series of recursive paintings. The fateful catalyst was posted on Reddit two weeks ago, with a photo of a woman (the Redditor’s mother) holding a painting of a bird, her second painting ever. The photo’s caption, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting,” inspired another user to paint a painting of the woman holding her painting, captioned “I painted somebody’s mom,” and mayhem ensued from there.

Each successive painting includes a caption chronicling their location in the multi-branched series. The result is a fascinating chain of events that connects online and offline experiences, and has gotten more than a few some-time painters back at their brushes. You can follow the progress of this real-life meme via Nick Kapur on Twitter.

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

Winter’s Magic: Dramatic Ice Crystals Formed in Ephemeral Spheres

December 31, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

A simple mixture of corn syrup, dish detergent, and water creates magical winter snow globes when blown into bubbles on snow. Frosty shapes dance across the fragile transparent bubbles, starting out as distant stars that expand and almost tesselate to form a continuous surface pattern. The straightforward yet delicate DIY project is dramatically documented by Ontario-based nature photographer Don Komarechka in his short film “Winter’s Magic.” Komarechka’s video features the best clips from over 400 takes that were originally shot for the BBC’s Forces of Nature documentary series. The artist works in macro, landscape, and nature photography. He also teaches workshops, and sells prints of his work, from snowflakes to spiders, on his website. For the curious, Komarechka explains the process and the technical aspects of the project on YouTube. (via The Kid Should See This)