Thunderstorm

Thunderstorm

Typically, the swirl of stormy weather obscures the cells at the heart of severe thunderstorms. This uncommonly clear view of an entire thunderstorm cell, with the top of the growing cumulonimbus tower topping out at 40,000 feet, reveals many interesting features, including “fall streaks” of what may be hail from the underside of the overhanging anvil portion of the cloud. Shortly after this photo was taken on May 22, 2011, near Madison, the storm pelted the Sun Prairie area with large, damaging hail. More »

Bee vision

Bee vision

To the human eye, Bidens ferufolia — a species in the sunflower family — has all-yellow petals (left). Bees see the same flower differently: with a bullseye, guiding them to land close to the nectar, held on the nectaries at… More »

Penguins

Penguins

An emperor penguin makes the 5-foot leap to solid ice at the Penguin Ranch in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. A few emperor penguins are placed in a fenced-in area where they can be studied. A circular hole cut through the sea… More »

Ties that bind

Ties that bind

Pannexin1, a tumor-suppressing protein, plays a vital role in binding tissue together. When cells expressing Pannexin1 touch, the protein initiates a response that includes developing tight networks of actin, a structural protein. A looser cell structure can ease the spread… More »

Take a tour of the ocean floor

Take a tour of the ocean floor

Video: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Have you ever wondered what the ocean floor looks like? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did, too. So they compiled gobs of data and maps generated by ships and satellites to create… More »

Moonbow

Moonbow

The Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, and is especially beautiful in this stunning image under the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights are shining against a great sea of stars, including the constellation Ursa major, or Great… More »

Melanocytes

Melanocytes

Eyes aren’t the only human organ that can “see” light. It turns out that skin cells called melanocytes have a light-receptor molecule called rhodopsin that fluoresces as soon as it detects ultra-violet A light (UVA), the deeper penetrating, long-wavelength UV… More »

Breidamerkurjökull Glacier, Iceland

Breidamerkurjökull Glacier, Iceland

This view, taken by the QuickBird satellite operated by DigitalGlobe, shows the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland. The Quickbird is a sub-meter resolution satellite, which means that each pixel of the image represents less than a one square meter area. Breidamerkurjökull… More »

Let it snow

Let it snow

If you saw something like this falling from the sky, you might think that the weather outside was indeed frightful. But this dumbbell shaped object is, in fact, a super-magnified snowflake — yes, a snowflake. Not so frightful after all.… More »

The tiniest car in the world

The tiniest car in the world

Buckle your tiny seatbelts. Scientists have created a car at the nano scale. Just how small is nano? One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter. To help you wrap your head around that, the average sheet of paper is… More »

Follow that flock!

Follow that flock!

You don’t have to be a birder or ornithologist (a.k.a. a bird scientist) to think this graphic is fascinating. This map shows where American Pipits, a small, sparrow-like bird, can be found throughout the year (click on it to watch… More »

A tiny little roundworm

A tiny little roundworm

Caenorhabditis elegans is a one millimeter-long soil roundworm, as well as an insightful model organism for research in molecular and developmental biology, because it is simple, easy to grow and can be frozen. C. elegans has two sexes: a self-fertilizing… More »

Smile for the minirhizotron!

Smile for the minirhizotron!

Teeny little video cameras called minirhizotrons snapped these photos of wetland plant roots. The cameras will help scientists anticipate how the plants might respond to climate change. Minirhizotrons give scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory a technological boost by… More »

A healing retina

A healing retina

One hurdle to treating neurodegenerative diseases is the inability of neurons in the central nervous system to regenerate axons after damage. In glaucoma, retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons, which make up the optic nerve and serve as cables to pass… More »