Far Out: The Most Psychedelic Images in Science
1. One of the best models of a sunspot ever made. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research produced this simulation by plugging the newest sunspot data into a 76-teraflop supercomputer. The image required nearly 2 billion data points to simulate the magnetism, temperature, and other features of a sunspot; it models the phenomenon down to a depth of nearly 4,000 miles.
2. This rainbow image of concentric circles is a quartz crystal as seen through a microscope that images its “birefringence“—the crystal’s unusual ability to bend light to varying degrees depending upon its orientation. Since differently oriented light rays are refracted differently, they diverge as they go through the quartz crystal, creating doubled images and, more psychedelically, these crazy colors. The image is taken from research by Mike Glazer of Oxford University.
3. Fractals form a major section of psychedelic art, and the king of fractals was Benoit Mandelbrot, who just died in October 2010. In his famous Mandelbrot set, each small part is the same as the whole, and the image boundary becomes continually more detailed as you zoom in.
4. This may look like a child’s Spirograph drawing, but it’s actually what scientists at CERN hope to see when the Large Hadron Collider in Europe reaches full smashing power: The decay of that elusive subatomic particle, the Higgs boson.
5. NASA’s false-color treatment of satellite images turns ordinary shots of our planet into pictures of another world worthy of science fiction, replete with purple oceans and orange outcroppings. This inverted treatment of the Himalaya Mountains was made with the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), which combined near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths.
6. The heart of this image is a spherical colony of Volvox algae, about 100 micrometers across, with a flurry of nutrients fluttering by. Volvox have been forming these multicellular colonies for more than 200 million years.
See the rest of them here.