Home » The most incredible microscope images of 2016 reveal a beautiful, hidden universe

The most incredible microscope images of 2016 reveal a beautiful, hidden universe

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The world we see with our eyes is just one view of reality, but microscopes can bring a smaller, practically invisible universe within reach.

Photographs taken through the lenses of a high-power ‘scope can reveal lifeforms and objects no person has ever seen.

They also highlight beautiful, artistic, and often shocking details in common objects, like soap bubbles, dried coffee, flowers, and butterfly tongues:

microscope photos nikon small world 2016 Butterfly proboscis

A butterfly proboscis.Jochen Schroeder/Nikon Small World

The Nikon Small World contest celebrates the most amazing microscope photos from around the world, and 2016’s competition was as amazing as any of the years before it: more than 2,000 entries from 70 countries. (I was a judge for the 40th year of the contest.)

Nikon will release the winners on Wednesday, October 19, via its Instagram account, @NikonInstruments.

Until then, soak in the finalists below — and cast a vote for your favorite.

Red speckled jewel beetle

Red speckled jewel beetle

Yousef Al Habshi/Nikon Small World

Eyes of a jumping spider

Eyes of a jumping spider

Yousef Al Habshi/Nikon Small World

Slime mold

Slime mold

Jose Almodovar/Nikon Small World

Zebrafish fin

Zebrafish fin

Leonardo Andrade/Nikon Small World

Glycerin-based soapy solution

Glycerin-based soapy solution

Haris Antonopoulos/Nikon Small World

Ammonite shell

Ammonite shell

Norm Barker/Nikon Small World

Tiger beetle and a scale of the forester moth

Tiger beetle and a scale of the forester moth

Rudolf Büchi/Nikon Small World

Head of a skinbow zebrafish larvae

Head of a skinbow zebrafish larvae

Chen Chen-Hui/Nikon Small World

Copper crystals

Copper crystals

Honorio Cócera-La Parra/Nikon Small World

Human brain cells differentiated from embryonic stem cells

Human brain cells differentiated from embryonic stem cells

Gist F. Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner, Ali H. Brivanlou/Nikon Small World

Fungus growing on cow dung

Fungus growing on cow dung

Michael Crutchley/Nikon Small World

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Scales of a butterfly wing

Scales of a butterfly wing

Evan Darling/Nikon Small World

Mouse hand showing veins

Mouse hand showing veins

Evan Darling/Nikon Small World

Fossil diatom composed of 20 individual photos

Fossil diatom composed of 20 individual photos

Frank Fox/Nikon Small World

Green bottle fly

Green bottle fly

Erno Endre Gergley/Nikon Small World

Flow currents generated by an eight-week-old starfish larva

Flow currents generated by an eight-week-old starfish larva

William Gilpin, Vivek N. Prakash, Manu Prakash/Nikon Small World

Butterfly scales

Butterfly scales

Scales of a butterfly wing Agrodiaetus thersites Chapman’s Blue maleAnne Gleich/Nikon Small World

Algae

Algae

Anne Gleich/Nikon Small World

Air bubbles in evaporating tequila

Air bubbles in evaporating tequila

James Hayden/Nikon Small World

Rubber coated with a thin glass

Rubber coated with a thin glass

James Hedrick/Nikon Small World

Cultured fat cells from a grizzly bear

Cultured fat cells from a grizzly bear

Heiko T. Jansen, Jamie Gehring, Kimberly Rigano, Charles Robbins/Nikon Small World

Deep sea crustacean

Deep sea crustacean

Tomonari Kaji/Nikon Small World

Espresso coffee crystals

Espresso coffee crystals

Vin Kitayama and Sanae Kitayama/Nikon Small World

Black elder tree flower stamen

Black elder tree flower stamen

Laurie Knight/Nikon Small World

Cross section of a lily of the valley

Cross section of a lily of the valley

Falco Krüger/Nikon Small World

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Brain matter of a transgenic mouse in 3D

Brain matter of a transgenic mouse in 3D

Hei Ming Lai and Dr. Wutian Wu/Nikon Small World

Testis of a fruit fly

Testis of a fruit fly

Christopher Large/Nikon Small World

Mosquito larva

Mosquito larva

Edwin Lee/Nikon Small World

Section of the cerebellum in a brain

Section of the cerebellum in a brain

Marc Leushacke/Nikon Small World

Surface of embryonic mouse kidney

Surface of embryonic mouse kidney

Nils Lindstrom/Nikon Small World

Crystals of salicin, a painkiller, extracted from Willow tree bark

Crystals of salicin, a painkiller, extracted from Willow tree bark

David Maitland/Nikon Small World

Caudal gill of a dragonfly larva

Caudal gill of a dragonfly larva

Marek Mis/Nikon Small World

Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals

Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid crystals

Marek Mis/Nikon Small World

Leg of a water boatman

Leg of a water boatman

Marek Mis/Nikon Small World

Algae cells

Algae cells

Jacek Myslowski/Nikon Small World

Water mite

Water mite

Jacek Myslowski/Nikon Small World

Poison fangs of a centipede

Poison fangs of a centipede

Walter Piorkowski/Nikon Small World

Section of stem of a plant specimen

Section of stem of a plant specimen

Edgar Javier Rincón/Nikon Small World

Robber fly

Crystals of diclofenac (also called Zorvolex), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Crystals of diclofenac (also called Zorvolex), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Adolfo Ruiz De Segovia/Nikon Small World

Oreina cacaliae

Oreina cacaliae

Pia Scanlon/Nikon Small World

Wasp eyes

Wasp eyes

Jochen Schroeder/Nikon Small World

Front foot of a male diving beetle

Front foot of a male diving beetle

Igor Siwanowicz/Nikon Small World

Inside of a humped bladderwort, a freshwater carnivorous plant

Inside of a humped bladderwort, a freshwater carnivorous plant

Igor Siwanowicz/Nikon Small World

Gear-like hind legs of a planthopper nymph

Gear-like hind legs of a planthopper nymph

Igor Siwanowicz/Nikon Small World

Scales of a butterfly wing underside

Scales of a butterfly wing underside

Francis Sneyers/Nikon Small World

Leaves of a liverwort plant

Leaves of a liverwort plant

Magdalena Turzańska/Nikon Small World

Diatoms

Diatoms

Arlene Wechezak/Nikon Small World

Galls of a mite and fungus on the surface of a scarlet firethorn plant

Galls of a mite and fungus on the surface of a scarlet firethorn plant

Györgyi Zséli/Nikon Small World

Ant leg

Ant leg

Györgyi Zséli/Nikon Small World

Source uk.businessinsider.com

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