Tuesday, January 31, 2006


No guesses yesterday? The answer was that it was the center underside of an AMD Athlon Microprocessor loaned to me by my friend Marc.

Here are several more 60x pictures of it.

Today's mystery image is at 200x. What is it? Guesses in the comments.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I got two packages of seeds- marigolds and dill. The marigolds were far more interesting so I'll be featuring them.

The answer to yesterday's mystery image was: The skin of a red grape.

xiojason sent me an e-mail saying that he has a few microscopy pictures of his own. Go over to his website and check them out. I especially like the white velour.

Dill seed at 60x

Marigold seed at 60x (top), seed fringe at 60x and 200x.

Marigold seed fluorescing at 200x and 60x.

What is today's 60x mystery image?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Double Double Sawbuck

Sorry about not posting yesterday. I went out for dim sum with friends and never quite ended up making it back home for the day's posting until it was very late. Anyway, today we continue our exploration of the $20 bill, but before we go on with the photos, I'd like to welcome anyone coming from Science Chat Forum who we may be partnering up with here on the mystery picture of the day so it will be featured there as well. I highly recommend their forums for anyone interested in talking and learning about science.

Now, no one got yesterday's mystery picture right, although the suggestion of booger was on the right track. Those of you who have gone to my website and seen my headshot know that I keep my head shaved, so I couldn't provide a human hair (my wife may be willing to donate) to show you yet. However, I do have some dandruff up on the top of my dome. That is a flake of it.

And now, back to the $20 bill. Apparently, a friend with a 2003 bill tells me that they have already changed some features on it so that it does not match what I have put up on the site! The government is actually changing small designs on the bills each year to help stop counterfieting.

The $20 bill has a hologram in the lower right hand corner. The number 20 changes its color depending on the angle at which you hold it. This is what it looks like at 60x.

This is the strip that is inside the bill, another anti-copying device. You also get a very good look at the unique red and blue fibres which are in the paper. This style can only (legally) be found in American paper money.

Today's mystery image is at 200x. Guess away in the comments. Also, please keep suggestions coming!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Half a Double Sawbuck

Those of you who guessed money were absolutely right. It is the first picture in my 2-part 60x exploration of a 2001 U.S. $20 bill. See if you can find the corresponding parts of the bill based on the images below.

Part 2 will come tomorrow. Here is today's mystery picture at 200x

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Microscopy Unbound

Only one guess yesterday, from my wife. Have you all stopped coming? I hope not because tomorrow should be lots of fun as you will see when we get there.

In the mean time, the answer to yesterday's mystery picture is: a piece of a page from a paperback book (minus the printing of course) which will lead into today's theme, the paperback book.

This is an old paperback, Not the Glory by Pierre Boulle published in 1962. My father bought it to read while he was here at a used bookstore for $2 and I have torn it apart in the interests of science.

There is a color illustration on the front cover. At 60x and 200x you can see the dots and color separation printing that make it up.

The inside of the front cover is boring old card stock (200x).

The book is held together by a simple binding using this glue (200x).

Inside the pages we can see that the printing doesn't look so perfect up close (60x, 200x).

What is today's 60x mystery picture?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Grab Bag

Many of you guessed correctly that yesterday's mystery image was a raisin.

Here's today's images:

The point of a thumbtack at 60x.

I don't have any stain right now, but this is a human skin cell taken from the inside of my cheek at 200x.

A green scouring pad at 60x, 200x and fluorescing at 60x.

Two threads at 200x. The top is 100% polyester and the bottom is 63% polyester, 63% 37% (d'oh!) cotton.

What is today's mystery image?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Trail Mix

I'm back! Sorry to let you all down, but I had parents to show a city to. Anyway, I thought I'd make it up to you by doing an oversized post for today.

First things first- the answer to the last mystery picture is: the point of a toothpick.

Today, I thought I'd feature a bag of trail mix I got at the dollar store. Everything is at 200x.

Sunflower Seed


M&M Shell

M&M Chocolate

Dried Pineapple

Dried Papaya

What could today's mystery picture be? 200x

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The answer to yesterday's mystery image was: The head of a paper match.

Not much time for commentary today.

Cactus (species unknown)

A cross section showing the needles as they grew. 60x.

A clump of needles at 60x.

Needles fluoresce at 60x. (Thanks for the spelling correction, Hitmouse.)

The filament from inside a clear glass lightbulb at 60x and 200x.

What is today's 200x mystery pic? Guess in the comments.