daniel stoupin, a doctoral candidate in marine biology at the university of queensland, has photographed a variety of coral species using full spectrum light to reveal fluorescent pigments that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. each piece (click pic for name) is from the great barrier reef. given the complexity of the techniques used, which involve time-lapse and stereoscopic and focus stacked photography, the images take up to ten hours to produce in the lab.
Wow. I thought these were computer-generated protein models or something at first, but these are brilliantly fluorescing corals!!
What might be seeing these stunning fluorescent displays? Coral aren’t known to have any photo-sensitivity (at least past the larval stage), so the obvious candidates are fish, whose eyes would be sensitive to the emitted fluorescent wavelengths.
Do fish like that exist? Earlier this year, researchers at the American Museum of Natural History were photographing their own corals’ fluorescence when they accidentally noticed one of their eels was fluorescing too. No one had noticed because the fluorescence is usually masked in the presence of broad visible light as seen by us land-lubbers.
It turns out that fluorescence in fish is surprisingly common. Water filters out long and medium wavelength light (reds and yellows) as it gets deeper, which is why it’s blue. To compensate for this limited spectral availability, fish have turned to fluorescence as a way to expand the wavelengths of communication and camouflage in their normally azure-monochrome world.
Believe it or not, this image is of sand dunes on Mars.
Just like military aircraft, and flocks of birds, sand dunes can adhere to ‘V’ formations. For flight, all members of the formation, except for the leader, fly in the upwash from the wingtip vorticies of the member ahead. In a V formation of 25 members, this can reduce induced drag by up to 65%. For these sand dunes, the formation is a result of sand supply, wind speed and topography.
Taken at 3:03pm local Mars time on December 30, 2013; the original image was scaled at 28.9 cm/pixel – this means that objects that are about 87cm (34 in) across are resolved.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona, Released 13 February 2014.
Larger versions of the map projected image can be found here.
More information: 1, 2
Academic paper (free copy) “Effects of leaders position and shape on aerodynamic performances of V flight formation”
In its most recent review of U.S. nuclear policy, the Administration resolved to maintain all three types of systems that can deliver nuclear weapons over long ranges—submarines that launch ballistic missiles (SSBNs), land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and long-range bombers—known collectively as the strategic nuclear triad. The Administration also resolved to preserve the ability to deploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons carried by fighter aircraft overseas in support of allies. Nearly all of those delivery systems and the nuclear weapons they carry are nearing the end of their planned operational lives and will need to be modernized or replaced by new systems over the next two decades. In addition, the Administration’s review called for more investment to restore and modernize the national laboratories and the complex of supporting facilities that maintain the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. The costs of those modernization activities will add significantly to the overall cost of the nation’s nuclear forces, which also includes the cost of operating and maintaining the current forces.
As directed by the Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112 239), CBO has estimated the costs over the next 10 years of the Administration’s plans for operating, maintaining, and modernizing nuclear weapons and the military systems capable of delivering those weapons. CBO’s estimates should not be used directly to calculate the savings that might be realized if those forces were reduced: Because the nuclear enterprise has large fixed costs for infrastructure and other factors, a partial reduction in the size of any segment of those forces would be likely to result in savings that were proportionally smaller than the relative reduction in force.
NASA Gov Doc:
Volcanic activity along the western edge of the Pacific “Ring of Fire” gave rise to a tiny island in late November 2013. Located in the Ogasawara Islands, part of the Volcano Islands arc, the new islet sits about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo in waters considered part of Japanese territory…Images: Top: NASA, Dec. 8, 2013; Japan Coast Guard (JCG), December 1 & 13, 2013. JCG video clips.
There’s 6,300 tonnes of space junk orbiting Earth — Astonishing interactive visualizations
String Prototype by Numen/For Use
Playful interior space constructed from 3D grid of ropes.