Science

Section



Photography Science

A Million Dazzling Stars Are Revealed in a New Infrared Photograph of the Carina Nebula

September 17, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

A new photograph of the Carina Nebula, a complex group of bright and dark nebulae in the constellation Carina, has just been released by the European Southern Observatory. The original image is 140 megapixels, which clocks in as a 344MB download (don’t try this at home, kids) and contains about one million stars.

As explained by astronomer and science communicator Phil Plait, “The colors you see here are not what you’d see with your eye, since it’s all infrared. What’s shown as blue is actually 0.88 microns, or a wavelength just outside what your eye can see. Green is really 1.25 microns and red is 2.15, so both are well into the near-infrared. Even in the infrared, a lot of gas and dust still are visible. That’s because there’s a whole bunch of it here. And it’s not just randomly strewn around; patterns are there when you look for them.”

Plait continues on to clarify that the purpose of such an impressive photo isn’t just for eye candy: astronomers use such images to conduct star censuses. Below are two details of the photo, where you can get a better sense of the extreme density of stars captured in the massive image. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design Science

The Museum of the Moon: An Illuminated 23-Foot Lunar Replica Currently Touring the World

September 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Photo: Carl Milner

Multidisciplinary artist Luke Jerram has created several exacting 23-foot replicas of the moon, which are currently touring the world as Museum of the Moon. The lunar project has been installed in public spaces ranging from China and Finland to the United Arab Emirates and Australia, and is accompanied by music from composer Dan Jones. Locations vary and include indoor and outdoor spaces as well as festivals, to intentionally alter the interpretation and experience of the project for viewers around the world.

To create the large illuminated sculptures, the British artist used a massive image (nearly 70 feet wide) of the moon created by NASA’s Astrogeology Science Center. The image itself was taken by a NASA satellite carrying the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, which was launched in 2010. Each centimeter of Jerram’s replicas represent 5 kilometers of the moon’s surface.

Jerram also shares in a statement, “As it travels from place to place, it will gather new musical compositions and an ongoing collection of personal responses, stories and mythologies, as well as highlighting the latest moon science.” This information is compiled on Museum of the Moon online research page. You can find out where the moons will be next on the museum’s website and see photos with the #museumofthemoon hashtag. (via designboom)

Photo: Gareth Jones

Photo: Leeds Living

Photo: Neil James

Photo: Robert Sils

 

 



Animation Science

The Milky Way’s Glimmering Core Captured in a Timelapse Video by Adrien Mauduit

September 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

When not working for a NASA-funded citizen-science project, Adrien Mauduit travels the world seeking out remote places to create photographs and films of the night sky. To the naked eye, the galaxies around us appear as single points of light; Mauduit’s “astro-lapse” visuals showcase the dimensionality of the universe through specialized photo and video equipment. His most recent video, Galaxies Volume III, is the third in the astro-lapse series and focuses on the core of the Milky Way.

Mauduit explains in a statement about the project that from a young age he has been interested in  the natural wonders of the environment, and by “showing the true beauty of the universe I could contribute in my own limited way to bringing the real dark skies to the hectic and light polluted urban jungle.” The resulting film includes dramatic shots of shooting stars, silhouetted mountains, and rushing clouds foregrounding the shimmering night sky. You can see more of Mauduit’s work on Vimeo and Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

 

 

 



Science

These Sneaky Sea Slugs Paralyze Their Predators With Stolen “Weapons”

August 30, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, and are group of wildly colored animals that use their striking forms to warn predators against attack. Although the sea slugs move slow, they are protected by a brilliant defense mechanism. Some species create an alarming defense by stealing “weapons” from another creature called a hydroid. These plant-like animals may appear like seaweed, but they are actually a jellyfish relative covered in stingers packed with a paralyzing venom.

Instead of being repelled by the dangerous tentacles covering the hydroids’ bodies, nudibranchs devour them. Once swallowed, some of the immature stingers are passed directly into their digestion system and are stored in their spikes. If a sea slug feels threatened, these stingers are deployed for an overwhelming punch of stolen venom. For more information on nudibranchs and their sneaky defense system, view this article from KQED Deep Look. (via The Kid Should See This)

A nudibranch devouring a hydroid

 

 



Amazing Science

Watch Amazonian Butterflies Take Sips of a Turtle’s Salty Tears

July 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and adventurer Phil Torres hosts a popular YouTube Channel, The Jungle Diaries, where he shares insights and observations from his travels to remote areas around the world. Recently, a trip to the Peruvian Amazon afforded footage of eight different butterfly species alighting on turtles to drink their tears. The phenomenon occurs because the sodium in the tears is a vital part of the butterflies’ diet that’s not readily available in the foods they consume. The search for sodium is actually quite common in the wild, and is also sourced from jaguar feces and river mud, as Torres notes.

You can follow along with more of Torres’s discovery-filled travels on Instagram and Twitter. Also check out photographer Mark Cowan’s amazing snapshot of a caiman sporting a crown of tear-drinking butterflies from 2016. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Photography Science

Microsculpture: Macro Photographs of Iridescent Insects Composed of 10,000 Images by Levon Biss

July 16, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Photographer Levon Biss (previously) shoots highly detailed images of insect specimens for his continuing series Microsculpture, combining 8,000 to 10,000 individual shots to produce the final piece. Included in this selection are the shield bug and tricolored jewel beetle, which were both collected by famous naturalists. The former was collected by Charles Darwin during a visit to Australia in 1836, and brought back to the UK on the famed HMS Beagle. The luminescent tricolored jewel beetle was collected exactly two decades later by his contemporary Alfred Russell Wallace.

Biss has current exhibitions at the Hessischer Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany through August 5, 2018 and Naturama in Svenborg, Denmark through November 25, 2018, in addition to his first US exhibit Microsculpture: The Insect Photography of Levon Biss which opened at the Houston Museum of Natural Science earlier this month. You can buy limited edition archival pieces on his online print shop, and view interactive versions of his highly detailed composite images on his Microsculpture website.

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Tortoise Beetle

Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Detail of Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Shield Bug

Shield Bug

 

 



Design Science

DRAGON: A Snakelike Drone Robot That Shape-Shifts in Flight

June 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

The JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo has designed a modular flying robot that propels itself through the air with several small fans. The entire device is built to autonomously alter its shape during flight, allowing the robot to maneuver its way through obstacles that might obscure its path. The robot is named DRAGON, which is a simplified way of saying “Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON.

The project’s researchers imagine the robot to eventually act as a flying arm, moving its way through the air as it picks up and moves objects with a two-fingered grip. The linked modules that compose DRAGON’s body are connected via hinged joints and the entire structure is driven by an Intel Euclid which allows for a 3 minute run time. The above video shows the robot shape-shifting from a circular configuration to a snake-like object in order to pass through a small hole in the grid that lies above.

DRAGON was presented as a part of the paper “Design, Modeling and Control of Aerial Robot DRAGON: Dual-Rotor Embedded Multilink Robot with the Ability of Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Aerial Transformation,” by researchers Moju Zhao, Tomoki Anzai, Fan Shi, Xiangyu Chen, Kei Okada, and Masayuki Inaba at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2018 in Brisbane, Australia in May. (via The Kid Should See This)