Science

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Science

A Field Recording by Phil Torres Documents the Waterfall-like Sound of Millions of Migrating Monarch Butterflies

May 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and TV host Phil Torres (previously) dives deep into the natural world to document sights and sounds that many of us will never have a chance to experience firsthand. In his most recent video, Torres showcases the sound created by millions of migrating monarchs. The iconic orange and black butterflies convene every year in Mexico, where they overwinter during the Northern Hemisphere’s cooler months. In Torres’ six minute video, monarchs cluster by the thousands on individual tree branches and swarm the forest air, creating a rushing, waterfall-like sound. We highly recommend listening to the video with a pair of earphones to really pick up the subtleties in the audio. You can see more of Torres’ outdoor explorations on his Youtube channel, The Jungle Diaries, and follow along on Twitter.

 

 



Photography Science

Salt Crystals Dance and Grow Across the Screen in a Time-Lapse by Wenting Zhu

May 6, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Dalian, China-based videographer Wenting Zhu spent seven months creating The Arctic, a time-lapse video that explores the vastly different crystallization processes of salts. Crystals formed from salts including potassium nitrate and sodium sulfate explode like fireworks or appear to freeze like ice when seen through an accelerated lens. The film was created for Beauty of Science (previously), an ongoing series that presents aesthetically intriguing videos about science with a focus on chemical reactions. You can see more of Zhu’s macro photography on Behance and more footage from Beauty of Science on Vimeo. (via The Morning News)

 

 



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.

 

 



Photography Science

Self-Taught Nature Photographer Alison Pollack Tracks the Fascinating Fungi of Northern California

March 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Stemonitis

Stemonitis. All photographs by Alison Pollack

Avid photographer and retired environmental consultant Alison Pollack documents the fascinating phenotypes of mushrooms and slime molds she encounters on hikes in northern California. Her images show shaggy white Comb Tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), Stemonitis slime molds that wouldn’t look out of place on the dessert menu of an experimental restaurant, and Comatricha that bear a strong resemblance to urban lamp posts. Recently, the north Bay Area-based photographer shared with the Marin Independent Journal that she has had a longtime interest in hiking and mushrooming, but has grown more focused on fungi photography in the last two years. You can follow along with Pollock’s findings, and help her identify unknown species, on Instagram.

Hericium coralloides

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Tyromyces chioneus

Tyromyces chioneus

Hericium erinaceus

L: Comatricha / R: Hemitrichia calyculata

Crepidotus mollis

Physarum viride

Trametes versicolor

Mycena

 

 



Art Science

Searing Bands of White Light Mark the Ocean’s Rising Tides in a Coastal Community

March 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Documentation of Installation by Pekka Niittyvirta & Timo Aho

A chilling new installation in the Outer Hebrides shows the impact of climate change and rising tides on the low-lying islands off the west coast of Scotland. Lines (57° 59 ́N, 7° 16 ́W)  was created by Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho for Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in Lochmaddy on the island of North Uist. The site-specific installation uses sensors and LED lights to show where the water will flow during storm surges if the Earth’s temperature continues to rise. Searing white lines mark this rising water level on the sides of buildings, hover over bridges, and extend across other susceptible areas across the museum campus and surrounding community.

The installation’s delineations starkly demonstrate the ticking clock that makes the museum’s current location unsustainable unless drastic measures are taken to stop climate change. The video below shows the artists’ installation process. You can see more from Niittyvirta and Aho on their websites. (via designboom)

 

 



Design Science

Upcycled Lobster Shells are Transformed into Functional Planters and Packages

February 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Four designers from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College have found a second life for the lobster tail you might’ve splurged on for Valentine’s Day. The project team, dubbed Shellworks, created a bioplastic by combining vinegar with chitin, a fibrous substance that is the main component of crustacean’s shells, as well as fungi cell walls. Though there is currently a commercially available version of chitin, called chitosan, it is extremely expensive.

The Shellworks team created five of their own machines, named Shelly, Sheety, Vaccy, Dippy and Drippy, to manipulate the chitin-based materials with varying stiffness, flexibility, thickness, and translucence. The resulting range of potential products includes self-fertilizing planters, pill blister packs, and food containers, which can be recycled or composted. By making this process more accessible and affordable, Shellworks hopes that their innovations might allow for larger-scale replacement of the plastic we use every day. You can learn more about the project in the video below, and on the Shellworks website and Instagram. (via dezeen)

A range of material properties that can be created from chitin without any additives

 

 



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)