Science Art: Cloud Vortices off Isla Socorro (Detail) by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Scientific illustration: A satellite photo of clouds swirling into spirals.Click to embiggen

On May 25, 2010 at 17 :35 UTC, this was the weather off the North Pacific island called Isla Socorro: Partly cloudy with scattered spirals.

The interesting thing about truly chaotic systems is that sometimes they give rise to very orderly structures. Pleasantly swirly.

The photo was taken by Satellite: Terra, part of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team.

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Science Art: Gryllus: Gryllus formosus, Gryllus hirtipes, Gryllus trifasciatus.

Handsome field crickets.

That’s not a name for them, just me admiring them. Gryllus is a genus of field crickets. Once, they were all put in the same species, but then people started taking a closer look and realized, oh, these guys are different from those guys. (And actually, I suspect these guys have, since then, been recategorized as fool, point-head, and range grasshoppers, Tropidolophus, Acrolophitus and Hadrotettix. Still handsome, though.)

I found the image in the New York Pub…

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Science Art: Perihelion Parts of Orbits of the August and November Meteor-showers

Scientific illustration of meteor-shower orbitsClick to embiggen

Where the meteors come from in August and November, as pictured in A new astronomy for beginners, 1898, as found on

Something about this diagram reminds me of hotels from the 1930s and cars from the 1950s. It’s an Art Deco scientific illustration.

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Science Art: Lamprometra protectus, ventral view of a specimen with 23 arms from Stat. 125., 1918

scientific illustration - a photo, really - of an unstalked crinoid, a kind of marine animal related to a starfish
This is a crinoid, a cousin to sea urchins, sea cucumbers and starfish. I suppose some of them have stalks like sea anemones, but these ones don’t! The image is from The Unstalked Crinoids of the Siboga Expedition gallery in the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr account, which is all taken from this book of the same name.

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SONG: Iron in the Sky

SONG: “Iron in the Sky”

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on sss, 19 Nov 2020, “50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect in extinctions”, as used in the post “Scientists suspect magnetic fields in mass extinctions”.

This is a sea shanty, or I guess a space shanty, about prehistoric mass extinctions due to magnetic polar reversals, probably brought on by (or related to) solar flares.

The science here isn’t especially new – the article was mostly a…

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Science Art: In s is das Centrum fur den Meridian ANQ, 1857

Click to embiggen

As described on Wikimedia Commons (who got this diagram from the British Library), the image was “taken from page 100 of ‘Grundzüge der mathematischen Geographie und der Landkartenprojection … Ein Handbuch für Jeden, der ohne Vorkenntniss der höheren Mathematik sich über den Gegenstand unterrichten will, etc’.”

It’s a lesson in how to read (or write) a map, specifically how to determine a meridian, or line of longitude.

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The toothy mega-albatross

18 January 2021 grant 0

Science Friday remembers the mysteriously vanished pelagornithids – birds that, we now know, once ruled the skies with toothy beaks and a wingspan twice the […]

A pacemaker for your brain.

13 January 2021 grant 0

Discover surveys the state of the research into deep-brain stimulation (DBS), using electrical implants to treat conditions from Parkinson’s to chronic pain, OCD, depression and […]