Anyone knows what this image is?
It was taken with a light microscope and magnified twenty times. Indeed it is something very, very tiny. I was surprised that something so microscopic could be so colourful. Long ago, when I was looking at cells through the lab microscope at school, I often didn't know what to focus on because there'd be dust particles and liquid droplets that looked liked what I was supposed to see and draw in the lab book. And they had no colour whatsoever. I only managed to get through the practical biology exam because we had to dissect something relatively big - a hamster! If it had been a cockroach, I would have fainted immediately.
Anyway that image won top honours in the Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition this year. It actually is:a magnificent depiction of the essence of floral life, a gorgeous photograph of a thale cress anther (the male sex organ of a small flowering plant)
taken by plant biologist Dr. Heiti Paves of the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia.
Here is where an anther is located on a flower.
The anther is the part of the flower that holds the pollen which is essential for plant reproduction.
You might like to go here to play a little quiz to match a small image to it's description. They are all very colourful too.
How about this one then?
Would you have guessed that it too is something very tiny, laid out on a dirty school lab slide laden with dust particles and liquid droplets?
No I suppose not. You all are far too clever.
Well that image was voted the best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. Actually, it is a composite image created by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. It is the Sombrero Galaxy.
What is a Galaxy? (hint: it is NOT an American soccer club)
The simple answer is that a galaxy is a collection of stars held together by their mutual galaxy. In other words, all the stars in a galaxy are kept together by the gravity of all the other stars (as well as the invisible, mysterious dark matter).
We know the Milky Way pretty well, so let's consider it as a good example of a galaxy. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It has a bright central core with a high density of stars, and then a flattened disk surrounding it – like a spinning record. Two spiral arms start just outside the core, and then spiral outward like a pinwheel to the outer edges of the galaxy. The Milky Way measures about 100,000 light-years across, and is thought to contain 200-400 billion stars.
Read more here
Some points about the Sombrero from Wikimedia Commons:
Messier 104 is commonly known as the Sombrero galaxy because in visible light, it resembles the broad-brimmed Mexican hat. However, in Spitzer's striking infrared view, the galaxy looks more like a "bull's eye."
Spitzer's full view shows the disk is warped, which is often the result of a gravitational encounter with another galaxy, and clumpy areas spotted in the far edges of the ring indicate young star-forming regions.
The Sombrero galaxy is located some 28 million light-years away. Viewed from Earth, it is just six degrees south of its equatorial plane. Spitzer detected infrared emission not only from the ring, but from the center of the galaxy too, where there is a huge black hole, believed to be a billion times more massive than our Sun.
The Spitzer picture is composed of four images taken at 3.6 (blue), 4.5 (green), 5.8 (orange), and 8.0 (red) microns. The contribution from starlight (measured at 3.6 microns) has been subtracted from the 5.8 and 8-micron images to enhance the visibility of the dust features.
All Praise to The Creator, The One who brings everything from non-existence to existence