Planet Earth

Look At This: The Blood-Brain Barrier, Little Lynx Spiders, and the Fruit Fly Eye, Magnified

80beatsBy Ashley P. TaylorOct 25, 2012 2:41 PM

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Every year, Nikon asks photographers and scientists to enter their most magnificent microscopic photos into the Small World photomicography competition, and every year, they dazzle. Here are three of the coolest photos from among this year's winners.

Jennifer Peters and Michael Taylor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/Nikon Small World

First Place: This winning photo depicts the blood-brain barrier

, the seal between capillaries and the brain, of a live zebrafish embryo. To produce the image, researchers genetically engineered components of the barrier to fluoresce under a confocal microscope, took a series of photos at 20x magnification, then combined the images to create this one. This is believed to be the first time

the developing blood-brain barrier of a live animal has been captured on film.

Walter Piorkowski/Nikon Small World

Second Place: This photo of newborn lynx spiderlings is magnified 6x. The photographer used reflected light

, fiber-optics

, and image stacking

to capture these babies.

W. Ryan Williamson, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Nikon Small World

Fourth Place: This photo shows a developing fruit fly eye

: the retina (gold), photoreceptor neurons (blue) and brain (green) magnified 1500x under the confocal microscope. See more winners and runners up here

.

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