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photos by matt smith from the Illawarra coast in new south wales of bluebottles, violet snails and blue dragons. 

despite its resemblance to the jellyfish, the bluebottle is more closely related to coral. known as a zooid, the bluebottle (or portugese man of war) is a colonial animal composed of many highly specialized and physiologically integrated individual organisms incapable of independent survival. 

the blue dragon — a type of nudibranch, here no larger than a thumbnail, with its own potent sting — is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of the fingers you can see in the pictures.

for their part, the violet snails also feed on the bluebottles.

notes matt, “despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle is an amazingly beautiful creature. with strong winds, hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight.”

this allows him to capture the above shots, which he creates with use of a fluorescent tube in his strobe light and a homemade waterproof lens dome.


Behold: 100 beautiful planetary nebulae. Multimedia artist Judy Schmidt made this collection of 100 glowing shells of gas and plasma; each is shown at the same scale, occupying a total area of the night sky much less than the size of a full Moon. Despite the name, they have nothing to do with planets.

These colorful nebulae result when stars with roughly the mass of the Sun end their lives by ejecting their envelopes into space. The husk of a star left, called a white dwarf, floods the ejected gas with ultraviolet light, causing it to give off a rainbow of brightly-colored light. Schmidt notes that in her rendition, “Colors are aesthetic choices, especially since most planetary nebulas are imaged with narrowband filters.”

(Source: Universe Today)


This is something my friend, a 1st year Computer Science student, does — he visualises data from SDSS, The Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He is an internship worker for a renowned Estonian cosmologist Elmo Tempel who uses the visualisations to detect filamentary patterns in cosmic webs, evaluate the characteristics of galaxies and their clusters, and researches Dark Matter. Tempel has a lot of publications which you can find here» if you scroll down a bit (a great deal of interesting astrophysics stuff). I’m sure great findings will come from their cooperation.

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