1 . Beauty in Embryos
This dreamy illustration of a zebrafish embryo happens to be attached to some cool research. The compilation photo reflects a centuries old observationthat during a certain point in a vertebrate embryos development, the embryo will look just like embryos of other vertebrates. The concept is known as the developmental hourglass. Embryos look alike in the middle of development, but early and late in development, the embryos appearances diverge, just as an hourglass flares out from its narrow waist.
2 . Fairy Insect Wings
A female Closterocerus coffeellae, a wasp collected in Colombia, looks drab against a white background and shines against black. Researchers at Lund Universityin Sweden have discovered that the insect species hymenoptera wasps and diptera flies theyve been studying for decades reflect light off their wings in rainbow like patterns. The effect is a bit like oil on water, but these patterns are permanent, suggesting they may play a role in insect communication. The wings of the flies and wasps are transparent, but they reflect about 20 percent of the light that hits them, the researchers found. Its this light that creates the shining patterns, just like a thin film of soap or oil on water creates a rainbow colored glare.
3 . Giant Jellyfish
Nemopilema nomurai, known as Nomuras jellyfish, can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) in diameter. It is edible, though it hasnt caught on widely. WhenNomuras jellyfish bloomed in 2005, some Japanese coped by selling souvenir cookies flavored with jellyfish powder, according to the New York Times
4 . Colorful Venus
This hemispheric view of Venus was created using more than a decade of radar investigations culminating in the 1990 1994 Magellan mission, and is centeredon the planets North Pole. The Magellan spacecraft imaged more than 98 percent of Venus and a mosaic of the Magellan images forms the image base. Gaps in the Magellan coverage were filled with images from the Earth based Arecibo radar in a region centered roughly on 0 degree latitude and longitude, and with a neutral tone elsewhere (primarily near the South Pole). This composite image is color coded to show elevation.
5 . Love in the Time of Giardia
Is it love or a diarrheal parasite? In this Valentines appropriate image, its the parasite. Caught on scanning electron microscope in the midst of dividinginto two separate organisms, thisGiardia lambllaparasite forms a heart, flagella untwining as the two new protozoa prepare to go their separate ways. When ingested by humans (usually through drinking contaminated water),Giardiaprotozoa cause a diarrheal disease called giardiasis.
6 . Ball of Color
This photomicrograph shows the ruby tailed wasp called Chrysis ignita, which is the most commonly observed of this species. The abdomens is coloring ruby red and bronze give the wasp its name. The underside of the abdomen is also concave, which allows the wasp to roll itself into a protective ball if threatened. Ruby tailed wasps are parasitoids, meaning they eventually kill their hosts. Chrysis ignita parasitizes mason bees: The females lay their eggs in the same nest as mason bees, so when the ruby tailed wasp larvae hatch, they feed on the mason bee larvae. Ruby tailed wasps do have a sting but it is not functional and most species have no venom.
The fantastical image snagged a spot on the Wellcome Image Awards 2011, which chooses the most striking and technically excellent images acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library in the prior 18 months.
7 . Nicaragua from Above
As the shuttle and the space station began their post undocking relative separation, Expedition 23 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi photographed the undersideof the shuttle over the south end of Isla de Providencia, about 150 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred on April 17, 2010, ending the shuttles 10 day stay. The visit included three spacewalks and delivery of more than seven tons of equipment and supplies to the station.
8 . Traveling Tsunami
The 8.9 magnitude (which may have been upgraded to a 9.0) earthquake that struck Japan triggered tsunamis across the region. Here, results from a computer model run by the Center for Tsunami Research at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory show the expected wave heights of the tsunami as it travels across the Pacific basin.
The largest wave heights are expected near the earthquake epicenter, off the coast of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. The wave will decrease in height as it travels across the deep Pacific but grow taller as it nears coastal areas. In general, as the energy of the wave decreases with distance, the near shore heights will also decrease. For example, coastal Hawaii will not expect heights of that encountered in coastal Japan, according to NOAA.
9 . Aurora go Bragh
This 2008 image, taken in Antarctica, captures Earths atmosphere in a St. Paddys Day mood. Aurora australis, the southern lights, are caused by solarwind passing through the upper atmosphere. The southern lights are seen less often than aurora borealis, the northern lights, because few people brave Antarcticas dark, freezing winters. In the summer, when research scientists descend on the continent, almost constant daylight overpowers the atmospheric display.
10 . Weddell Moon
The moon over an iceberg in the Weddell sea of Antarctica.