Science Art: Chandra X-ray Observatory close-up of the core of the M87 galaxy, by NASA/CXC/Villanova University/J. Neilsen

Scientific illustration of M87 black hole taken by Chandra X-ray ObservatoryClick to embiggen
This is not the famous Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) black hole image that you’ve probably seen by now. It’s a visualization of some of the data that helped make that image.

This is a picture of the center of the M87 galaxy taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a telescope that “sees” X-rays. It’s showing, among other things, a jet of energy emerging from the area around the black hole – basically spewing from the pole of the black hole near the speed of light.

From …

Read more

Science Art: Verge Watch Escapement, from The Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary, Vol. 2, 1820.

Scientific illustration of a watch escapement

A horological device called a “verge escapement” (on the bottom) with a balance wheel (on the top) from a pocketwatch.

An “escapement” is the thing that makes a watch tick – it advances in set intervals, then pauses, then advances, then pauses again.

From the image description on Wikimedia Commons:

The verge escapement, the oldest mechanical escapement, was used from the 13th century, and was the first escapement used in clocks and watches. It consisted of a vertical rod, the “verge”…

Read more

Science Art: Plate LIL, Fig 3: Cepheus bifidatus Nymph, from British Oribatidae, 1884

A scientific illustration of a mite. Click to embiggen

Mm. Mighty mite.

From a this book of mites.

Luckily for us, these mites (the Oribatidae) aren’t parasitic. They live in dirt (which they turn, like earthworm), and eat lichens and fungus. They do serve as a host for tapeworms, so try not to eat them when you meet them.

As far as I can tell, this specific mite, Cepheus bifidatus, hasn’t been studied very much. At least, it’s sort of hard to find descriptions online. People do get very excited to find some of their…

Read more

Science Art: Ichneumon Fly, from the USDA's Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, 1941

Ichneumon Fly, a scientific illustrationClick to embiggen

“Lays eggs on larva boring in wood.” Add just one comma and that comes across as harsh criticism, but it’s really meant as a compliment.

This is from an illustrated fact-sheet of Beneficial Insects that I found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. It’s a poster from the WWII era that might as well be labeled “THESE ARE YOUR FRIENDS. DO NOT ATTACK THESE INSECTS.”

As propaganda, I suppose it’s still pretty effective. At least I found them all rather handsome – but none…

Read more

Science Art: Hypocaustum excavated behind the old city of Rottenburg am Neckar , by Eduard von Kallee.

Roman central heatingClick to embiggen

An ancient Roman central heating system – hot water would be flooded through the basement, and the floors would warm up. “Hypocaust” was the name of the system. This particular one, painted in 1884, was built in the city of Rottenburg am Neckar, which the Romans called Sumelocenna when they lived there. The city might have gotten its “rotten” name because of an earlier version of the word “rotten,” which also meant “ruined” – the Germans built their city over the ruins of th…

Read more

Science Art: Four views of the Alvan Clark & Sons workshop..., from Scientific American, Sep. 24, 1887

Here, an astronomical family is building a 36-inch refractor telescope known as the Great Lick Refractor in the 1880s. It’s named for James Lick, an eccentric entrepreneur who financed the observatory. Please, don’t lick the telescope.

The lenses were fabricated in France, then shipped to Boston where Alvan Clark and his sons ground and polished the glass, built the telescope to house the lenses, then set them in place in a new observatory in Harvard College. They had to wait to put the fini…

Read more

Old, stinky sex.

30 October 2007 grant b 0

With plants! New Scientist reports on a sordid study of the pulsing, fetid origins of life as scientists plunge into an ancient plant’s hot, stinky […]

The Happy Brain.

29 October 2007 grant b 0

New Scientist discusses a joyous discovery inside our skulls – the bits of the brain responsible for optimism: Elizabeth Phelps at the New York University, […]

HIV defeated?

26 October 2007 grant b 0

Science Daily reports that AIDS might finally be on the way out: With the latest advances in treatment, doctors have discovered that they can successfully […]

China Moon

25 October 2007 grant b 0

Reuters reports that China is taking its next step into space with the Chang’e One lunar orbiter launch this week: The launch of the Chang’e […]

Biofuel from a bush.

24 October 2007 grant b 0

Nature brings news of a potential fuel for tomorrow growing wild in Africa and India. It’s called jatropha, and it could possibly be ideal for […]

SONG: Something in the Air

23 October 2007 grant b 0

SONG: “Something in the Air” [Download] (To download: right-click & “Save As”) ARTIST: grant. Hello there. SOURCE: “Lap dancers ‘in heat’ are the ones to […]

Sputnik DIY

22 October 2007 grant b 0

The BBC has published directions for building your own history-making satellite: In simple terms, the Sputnik satellite was a metal sphere almost 2ft (61cm) in […]

The Ares V

20 October 2007 grant b 0

Behold the mighty propaganda of a mighty space agency! NASA’s (computer generated) video of the very big (notional) Ares V rocket, launching a Very Large […]

Maps of Cosmic Bliss.

18 October 2007 grant b 0

You might remember reading, a few years ago, about some controversial claims made by Dr. Michael Persinger, who was researching how repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation […]

Time. And an OTHER time.

16 October 2007 grant b 0

Feeling pressed for time? A New Scientist interview reported by the Telegraph posits that we have more time than you think: Time is no longer […]