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Science

Watch the Aquatic Animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium via These Free Live Streams

March 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

You may have had to cancel your spring vacation, but you still can (virtually) visit the aquatic animals housed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Peek at the groups of jellyfish and sharks, do some bird watching in the Aviary, follow the African penguins as they waddle around, and catch a glimpse at the pulsing moon jellies all through the institutions’ free live streams. And for close-ups of the species, head to Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Animation Science

Fantastical Video Imagines the Crystalized Intricacies of Mineral Deposits

March 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

In an enchanting new video titled “Waiting to Be Found,” Dan Hoopert dives into the details within Earth’s minerals. The United Kingdom-based designer highlights the sprawling crystallization process as it expands within each deposit and alters its colors. One piece even grows a sparkling mass off its left side.

Hoopert’s project is based on a 2019 article in Earth, which states that the International Mineralogical Association recognizes more than 5,000 distinct minerals, including well-known silicates and carbonates that are frequently found in masses around the world. “Most are documented based on just a few known occurrences. It’s unlikely that scientists will stumble across many new finds of singularly abundant minerals on Earth, but numerous rare minerals are probably yet to be discovered,” the article says. In the last decade, about 1,000 new species were added to the association’s growing list.

The designer brought the project to life using 3D special effects software Houdini and Redshift. For more of his imaginary explorations of natural processes, follow him on Instagram and Behance.

All images © Dan Hoopert

 

 



Photography Science

Amazing Underwater Photographs Capture the World’s Only Known Pink Manta Ray

March 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kristian Laine, shared with permission

Australia-based photographer Kristian Laine recently got a glimpse at a particularly special underwater creature: the world’s only known pink manta ray. Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau after The Pink Panther, the aquatic animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine told National Geographic.

Project Manta has been studying the male fish since he was discovered in 2015. After conducting a skin biopsy, the organization concluded that the unusual hue is not due to diet or disease but rather is likely a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes changes in melanin expressions. Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.

For more of Laine’s underwater shots, follow him on Instagram or Facebook. You also can purchase one of his photographs of Inspector Clouseau and other ocean fish from his shop. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



History Science

A Hummingbird-Sized Dinosaur Skull Found Preserved in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber

March 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Protected in a small piece of amber dating back 99 million years, an ancient skull is changing the timeline researchers have for when reptiles transitioned into the descendants of current-day birds. Found in Myanmar, the oculudentavis khaungraae had at least 23 sharp teeth on its upper jaw, which suggests that the dinosaur ate insects, according to an article published in Nature this week. Its eye was canonical with small pupils and resembles those of a modern lizard, while the edge of the socket indicates that it was well-equipped to see in bright light. About the size of a hummingbird’s, the skull totals .6 inches, although this avian species is thought to be 70 million years older. After archaeopteryx, it’s the most ancient bird and the tiniest dinosaur ever discovered. To prevent damage to the bone, researchers used X-rays to construct a 3D model that’s shown below. (via The History Blog)

 

 



Photography Science

Lake Waves Appear Frozen in Time Amidst the Rocky Mountains in Photographs by Eric Gross

March 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Eric Gross, shared with permission

Shot at an elevation nearing 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, a series of images by Eric Gross capture a high-alpine lake covered in icy ridges and dips that mimic sleek waves. The Colorado-based photographer tells Colossal that local experts believe the phenomenon is caused by snowdrifts blowing onto the already frozen lake, melting there, and then refreezing. “Through multiple melt/freeze cycles and after periods of high winds, the mounds and divots are shaped into deep curves, sometimes with sharp ridges and lines that give the appearance of regular lake waves, frozen in time,” Gross says. “Composing images from ground level revealed that the dark ice waves exhibit psychedelic reflections of the surrounding mountainous landscape.” To see more of the photographer’s phenomenological works, head to Instagram.

 

 



Photography Science

Explore Curiosity’s New 1.8-Billion-Pixel Panorama of Mars

March 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

While many Americans were enjoying a few days off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday, Curiosity Mars Rover (previously) was busy taking more than 1,000 photographs of the Red Planet. Capturing the Glen Torridon region on the side of Mount Sharp, the rover shot enough images to create a composite that totals 1.8 billion pixels and provides its most expansive view to date of Mars’ landscape.

NASA released a video that points out the various landmarks and proves just how impressive the shot is, like the incredible detail that’s visible on a three-mile wide crater at least twenty miles away. The rover shot the panorama using a camera attached to its mast that has both telephoto and medium-angle lenses. In order to ensure lighting consistency, it only took images between 12 and 2 p.m. each day. Explore the panorama for yourself on NASA’s site. (via Uncrate)

 

 



Photography Science

An Almost Comically Diverse Parade of Wildlife Crosses a Log Bridge in Pennsylvania

March 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

A log in Pennsylvania has gotten a lot of foot—and talon and paw—traffic during the last year. In trail camera footage captured by photographer Robert Bush Sr., local wildlife is shown crossing the downed tree throughout 2018 and 2019. A black bear frequents the location, in addition to grouse, bobcats, deer, squirrels, and beavers, which all are caught scurrying over the log or wading through the water. Despite their regular visits, though, none of the species seem to run into each other. For more clips of the animals’ travel routines, head to Bush’s Facebook and YouTube pages. (via Laughing Squid)