Science

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Science

A 5-Day Timelapse Documents 24 Hours of Sunlight at the South Pole

November 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

What does a full day of sun look like at the earth’s southernmost point? Robert Schwarz, who was stationed in the antarctic for 15 years as part of the experimental Keck project, filmed an illuminating timelapse while at the snowy location that shows the bright star floating above the horizon for an entire five-day period. Shot in March 2017, the footage captures the bright sky just before the first sunset in months, when the pole experiences a dark period from April to August.

Schwarz documents a variety of natural phenomena, including the dancing lights of the aurora australis, moon phases, and the Miky Way, on Vimeo. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Photography Science

78,846 Photos of the Sun Are Stitched Together into a Mesmerizing Timelapse of Its Movements

November 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, filmmaker Seán Doran composed an entrancing timelpase of the sun’s glowing coronal loops during a month-long period. The video project compiles 78,846 ångström-171 photographs from August 2014 that show the bright, curved structures, which are made of hot plasma, as they burst upward. Colorized in gold in the timelapse, the arced loops often form a bridge between dark sunspots, or places where powerful magnetic fields breach the surface and flow into the massive star’s atmosphere.

For similarly stunning glimpses at astronomical happenings, head to Doran’s YouTube, which features footage of Earth’s orbit, Comet Neowise, and the rugged topography of the Red Planet. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Striking Short Film Documents the Otherworldly Organisms Living Just Beneath the Water's Surface

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

With the aid of multiple microscopes, filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken (previously) unveils the otherwise imperceptible maneuvers and bodily transformations of plankton. He focuses on a diverse array of underwater organisms, which all fall under the same taxonomy because of their inability to swim against the tides and are crucial to life on Earth, providing half of all oxygen through photosynthesis. Set against black backdrops, the marine drifters appear otherworldly in shape and color, and the filmmaker documents water flea eggs visible through translucent membranes, the spiked fringe of cyanobacteria, and the minuscule movements of various creatures as they wriggle across the screen.

Planktonium is accompanied by an audio composition by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, which features sounds that are generally too difficult for humans to hear unaided, including the gurgles of water deep below the surface or the crackling insides of ice cubes. In addition to the truncated film shown above—find the full 15-minute version on Vimeo—van Ijken also released a photo series of the strange creatures, which are available in prints as part of a limited-edition boxset on his site.

 

Waterfleas carrying eggs

Copepod with diatoms attached

Echinoderm larva

Gloeotrichia – Cyanobacteria

 

 



Science

Life and Death Meet in a Striking Macro Timelapse of Carnivorous Plants and Their Prey

November 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

The Green Reapers” is the latest timelapse from French video artist Thomas Blanchard that captures the cutthroat relationship between insects and carnivorous plants in microscopic detail. Shot in 8K during the course of four months, the experimental project splices short clips of moths cracking through their chrysalises and Venus flytraps seizing slugs and worms, juxtaposing rebirth and death within seconds. Blanchard is known for unveiling the otherwise unseen transformations of the natural world—see his previous video works on flowers, seasons, and swirling liquids—and you can find more of his stunning compilations on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Project Stardust: A Photographer Scours Rooftops Across the Globe for Minuscule Cosmic Particles

October 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle, shared with permission

According to Olso-based photographer and researcher Jon Larsen, the most exotic particles from across the universe are likely hiding in a rain gutter or scattered among debris on rooftops. Larsen, who works in the geosciences department at the University of Oslo, has been at the forefront of micrometeorite discovery since 2009 when “a shiny black dot suddenly appeared on my white veranda table while I was having strawberries for breakfast.”

The event sparked a now decades-long exploration into the field of “cosmic dust particles, the oldest solid matter there is, ‘ash’ from dead stars, etc,” he tells Colossal. “Nothing has traveled farther…The search/hunt for stardust continues in all directions, but I am particularly interested in the unmelted ones, which contain water and complex organic molecules, (the) building blocks of life.”

 

These findings are what Larsen calls urban micrometeorites or minuscule bits of extraterrestrial matter found in heavily populated areas. Even though 60 tons of the dust fall to Earth every day, scientists previously considered the tiny pieces only discoverable in remote regions devoid of human life “due to an unsurmountable wall of terrestrial contaminants,” the researcher says. “Furthermore, the micrometeorites were thought to have a very short lifespan here on Earth due to the harsh weathering.”

That theory changed after Larsen scoured countless areas across the globe, producing a monumental archive of tens of thousands of particles. These range from the common barred olivine to the rare glass with chromites and volcanic residue. Most are considerably smaller than .05 centimeters.

 

Larsen’s pioneering research has culminated in a few books, including an identification guide and a forthcoming tome collecting his paintings, photos, and drawings on the subject. It also forms the basis for Project Stardust, a global community of micrometeorite hunters where he shares images of the gleaming, metallic findings in the form of striking macro shots that reveal crystalline details, jagged edges, and the particles’ lustrous surfaces. Simultaneously focused on the discovery and beauty of his findings, Larsen’s practice falls at the intersection of science, photography, and art. He explains:

Stardust looks like nothing else down on Earth, and they are beautiful jewelry from space. That it fell on me to discover these extraterrestrial beauties was rather bizarre because I do not come from academia but the art world… It was these qualifications which enabled me to find the way through the labyrinth and discover what everybody else said was impossible.

The publication of Larsen’s next book will coincide with exhibitions in Oslo and Berlin. You can find more of his work in the recent Werner Herzog documentary about meteors and comets, Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, and explore the vast archive of his findings on his site. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Art History Science

Anatomy and History Collide in Borosilicate Glass Sculptures by Kit Paulson

October 19, 2021

Christopher Jobson

Lungs, 2020. Flame-worked borosilicate glass. All photos © Kit Paulson, shared with permission

In a lovely clash of anatomy and antiquity, artist Kit Paulson (previously) forms impossibly fragile objects entirely from glass. By referencing historical artworks through lace patterns, or traversing the structures of blood veins and bones found in the human body, she externalizes the internal and reveals hidden visceral structures all around us. She pushes the idea further still by creating wearable sculptures like masks and gloves.

Paulson works primarily with slender tubes of borosilicate glass heated with a torch through a method called flameworking. “Even with its sterility and stability, glass must be manipulated by hand, relying on very the physical, muscle memory of the hands which is invisibly powered by blood and bone,” she shares with Colossal.

The artist just arrived at Bild-Werk Frauenau in Germany, an international forum for glass and visual arts where she’ll teach for the next 6 months. You can explore more of her work on Instagram and see dozens of her small glass objects available on Etsy.