Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Why not visit the New Jersey State Museum and Planetarium? There is plenty to see and experience, with no lines, crowds, or crazed bargain hunters.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Nikon Small World exhibit is back, with a new selection of stunning images of microscopic subjects. An annual favorite of staff and visitors alike, the exhibition will open soon in the New Jersey State Museum's Planetarium ramp. Visit soon to enjoy these incredible images.
STUNNING MARINE DIATOM “PORTRAIT” TAKES FIRST PLACE
IN 2013 NIKON SMALL WORLD COMPETITION
Annual Competition Honors Top Photomicrographs from Around the World
MELVILLE, NY, OCTOBER 30, 2013 – Nikon is pleased to reveal winners of the 2013 annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first prize to longtime competitor Wim van Egmond of The Netherlands for his image Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom). A freelance photographer and artist with a passion for aquatic microorganisms, Egmond sought to blend art and science to capture the complexity and stunning detail of this fragile helical chain.
Along with Egmond, over 100 other winners from around the world were recognized this year for excellence in photomicrography, sometimes for multiple entries. As always, winning images were selected for displaying both artistic quality and masterful scientific technique.
“This competition brings together some of the top talent from around the world, from all walks of life and scientific disciplines, with more and more incredible entries submitted each year,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. “After 39 years we are proud to watch the competition continue to grow, allowing us to honor this pool of talented researchers, artists, and photomicrographers, and showcase the importance and beauty of the work they do in the realm of scientific imaging.”
First place winner Wim van Egmond is one of Small World’s top photomicrographers, with now twenty still images recognized as finalists throughout the last decade. To capture the great complexity and detail of his winning diatom in three-dimensions, Egmond employed a partial image stack of more than 90 images. Foregoing traditional bright, saturated colors, he adjusted the illumination to create a subdued, blue background to contrast with the natural yellow-brown color of the diatom.
“I approach micrographs as if they are portraits. The same way you look at a person and try to capture their personality, I observe an organism and try to capture it as honestly and realistically as possible,” said Egmond of his winning image. “At the same time, this image is about form, rhythm and composition. The positioning of the helix, the directions of the bristles, the subdued colors and contrast all bring together a balance that is both dynamic and tranquil.”
While the top five images this year vary greatly in subject matter, technique and scientific discipline, they all prove to demonstrate the artistic skill and technical prowess of the photomicrographers behind them.
Top Five Images:
1. Mr. Wim van Egmond, Micropolitan Museum, Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), a colonial plankton organism
2. Dr. Joseph Corbo, Washington University School of Medicine, Chrysemys picta (painted turtle) retina
3. Dr. Alvaro Esteves Migotto, Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha, Marine worm
4. Mr. Rogelio Moreno Gill, Paramecium sp. showing the nucleus, mouth and water expulsion vacuoles
5. Dr. Kieran Boyle, University of Glasgow, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, Hippocampal neuron receiving excitatory contacts
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
For all of you early risers, keep an eye to the eastern skies before sunrise now through November for a couple of comets coming our way. It is comet Encke’s 62nd observed passage, and can be seen with binoculars. However, we know that Encke will not get much brighter than about 7th magnitude. Comet ISON, on the other hand, is on its maiden voyage toward the sun. This comet has the potential to be much brighter! Both comets will be moving through the constellations LEO & VIRGO and into the constellation LIBRA between now and late November. Around Nov 20th, the comets will come very close to each other in the sky, and with their brightness increasing; it could make for a spectacular sight!
Comets are balls of ice & rock that follow a highly elliptical orbit through the solar system. There are two kinds of comets: short period, and long period. Short period comets originate in the Kuiper belt; a disk of icy bodies that lie in a ring just outside the orbit of Neptune. While long period comets originate in the Oort cloud; a spherical cloud of icy objects that spans the outer solar system from just beyond the Kuiper belt well into interstellar space. One of these objects becomes a comet when gravitational interactions knock it out of a stable orbit, and send it falling into the inner solar system toward the sun. As it approaches the sun, the comet heats up, and its icy material evaporates. The comet’s tail is made up of gas and dust from the heating-up of the material, and is blown outward from the sun’s solar wind. During its trip around the sun, a comet can have one of three fates. It could come so close to the sun that it burns-up completely, or falls into the sun’s surface; it could go around the sun and continue along in its highly elliptical orbit back to its place of origin; or the gravitational interaction with the sun & other planets could fling it out of the solar system completely. The last instance is known as a hyperbolic comet.
Use this image to try to find comet ISON in the sky! You will still need binoculars right now, as it is only about 8th magnitude. However, as it approaches the sun it could very well become a naked-eye object. In order to see it without the aid of binoculars its brightness would have to reach about 4th or 3rd magnitude. Keep in mind that on November 28th it will be rounding the sun, so afterword it will be found in the evening sky just after sunset. (Image provided by the Griffith Observatory: http://www.griffithobs.org)