Science

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Photography Science

Alan Friedman’s Astonishing HD Photographs of the Sun Shot from his Own Backyard

February 13, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Alan Friedman is a fascinating guy. By day he’s a maker of greeting cards and a lover of hats, but in his spare time he’s a self-proclaimed space cowboy who points a telescope skyward from his backyard in downtown Buffalo, directly into the light of the sun. Using special filters attached to his camera Friedman captures some of the most lovely details of the Sun’s roiling surface. The raw images are colorless and often blurry requiring numerous hours of coloring, adjusting and finessing to tease out the finest details, the results of which hardly resemble what I imagine the 5,500 degree (Celsius) surface of Sun might look like. Instead Friedman’s photos appear almost calm and serene, perhaps an entire planet of fluffy clouds or cotton candy. From his artist statement:

My photographs comprise a solar diary, portraits of a moment in the life of our local star. Most are captured from my backyard in Buffalo, NY. Using a small telescope and narrow band filters I can capture details in high resolution and record movements in the solar atmosphere that change over hours and sometimes minutes. The raw material for my work is black and white and often blurry. As I prepare the pictures, color is applied and tonality is adjusted to better render the features. It is photojournalism of a sort. The portraits are real, not painted. Aesthetic decisions are made with respect for accuracy as well as for the power of the image.

Although the photos above are amazing, Friedman offers extremely high-resolution views of his work on his Tumblr and you can pick up some prints over on Photo-Eye. He also recently gave a TEDx Talk. (via geocentrismo)

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Photography Science

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life

December 11, 2012

Christopher Jobson

These beautiful and other-worldly photographs of ice were taken last year by University of Washington graduate student Jeff Bowman and his professor Jody Deming while they worked on a study combining oceanography, microbiology, and planetary sciences in the central Arctic Ocean as part of the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. Their single focus was the study of frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef. Via IGERT:

Around their research icebreaker in the central Arctic Ocean new ice grows on long open cracks that network amongst the thick floes of pack ice. Abruptly the surface of this new ice changes texture. The cold, moist air above the open cracks becomes saturated and frost begins to form wherever an imperfection can be found on the ice surface. From these nucleation points the flower-like frost structures grow vertically, quickly rising to centimeters in height. The hollow tendrils of these “frost flowers” begin to wick moisture from the ice surface, incorporating salt, marine bacteria, and other substances as they grow. The fog dissipates and the Arctic sun lights the surface of the frost flowers, initiating a cascade of chemical reactions. These reactions can produce formaldehyde, deplete ozone, and actually alter the chemical composition of the lower atmosphere. […] Bowman and Deming have discovered that bacteria are consistently more abundant in frost flowers than in sea ice. Since microscopic pockets in sea ice are known to support an active community of psychrophiles (cold-loving microorganisms), even in the coldest months of the year, these results are encouraging.

Bowman and Deming are currently building an ultra-clean chamber where they can grow artificial frost flowers and hope that their research leads to a better understanding of how life might be able to survive in extreme conditions elsewhere in the universe. Amazing! Photos by Matthias Wietz. (via the daily what)

 

 



Science

Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg: A Gravity-Defying Chain Reaction

December 5, 2012

Christopher Jobson

It’s been a while since we’ve had a quality Rube Goldberg device here on Colossal and it appears the folks over at Toronto-based 2D House have stepped up to the challenge. Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg is an extremely slick chain reaction aided by magnets and all matter of visual trickery. Just watch, try to guess which way is up, and have your mind blown. 2d House has also produced a number of other Rube Goldberg devices which you can see here. (via colossal submissions)

 

 



Design Science

100,000 Stars: An Interactive Exploration of the Milky Way Galaxy

November 15, 2012

Christopher Jobson

100,000 Stars is a new experiment for Chrome web browsers (or any other WebGL browser like Firefox or Safari) that lets you interactively explore the Milky Way galaxy with your mouse and scroll wheel. I found it to be a bit more cumbersome on my laptop trackpad so if you’re in the same position click the ‘Take a Tour’ button for a pretty lovely demo. (via the awesomer)

 

 



Art Science

Layered MRI Self-Portraits Engraved in Glass Sheets by Angela Palmer

October 25, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Artist Angela Palmer creates ipeccably detailed three-dimensional views of CT and MRI scans using multiple sheets of vertically layered glass. Just as magnetic fields are used to carefully image layer after layer of internal biological structures inside humans and animals, Palmer etches these same scans into layers of glass. She says her inspiration for these works is a lifelong fascination with maps and visual topographies.

I have always loved maps. The process of investigating and visualizing topographies, natural forms and landscapes, and then producing them in a form which captures their essence is endlessly fascinating and satisfying. This desire to ‘map’ is at the core of my work, whether it be the internal architecture of the human head or the physical geography of the planet. Peeling back the layers to expose the hidden natural world is a recurring theme, in this context I have appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to work with scientists in every conceivable discipline, from radiologists and botanists, to engineers specialising in bio-fluidics, to dust-mite and spider experts, veterinary scientists, paediatric dentists and specialists in ancient Egyptian dyes.

If you’d like to see more of her work Palmer had a show earlier this year at Waterhouse & Dodd and you can also check out her online gallery.

 

 



Science

A Tornado of Fire Filmed in Australia by Chris Tangey

October 1, 2012

Christopher Jobson

I’ve been traveling a bit so I’m a bit late to this as I know it’s been on a lot of news outlets lately. Regardless, filmmaker Chris Tangey shot this incredible footage of a ‘fire devil’ near Alice Springs, Australia on September 11th. In the unedited, raw footage recently provided by Tangey you can watch as the tornado—which is technically more of a dust devil—towers over 100 feet (30 meters) high. The Huffington Post explains that while footage like this is rare, these vortices of fire are actually pretty common.

 

 



Science

Guerilla Creative Collective ‘Kut’ Brings Unexpected Weather to the Streets of Riga

August 29, 2012

Christopher Jobson

A Latvian group that goes by the name Kut who describes themselves as “a creative collective consisting of filmmakers, musicians, artists, politicians and cats,” recently undertook an action on the streets of Riga called “Oh Joy!” where the group brought nature to the city and made the weather change unexpectedly. Aside from the few “Oh dear god what is this stuff all over me” moments, it looks like most people enjoyed it quite a bit. Love the editing. (via vimeo)

 

 

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