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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On gossamer wings...

Photo credit: NASA/ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Loyal followers of WMFC know that I define "Art" broadly----here is a recently released photograph of a lovely intergalatic soap bubble.   It is, in fact, the glowing hydrogen remnants of a violent supernova explosion that sent out a shock wave that is traveling at more than 18 million kilometers per hour through space.  Luckily it won't get to us for awhile, still being about 160,000 light-years away.  The shock wave bubble is currently 23 light-years across.

And just to make this a completely sciency post, here is a "map" of all the different kinds of bacteria that are in five specific parts of our body (I'm talking gals here and you must click to enlarge).  Each end of a branch, of which there are hundreds if not thousands, represents a specific species of bacteria.  While we go through our lives generally thinking of bacteria as bad, most are in fact living in a happy symbiotic relationship with us.  So pretty and lovely to think of my mouth as the human equivalent of the Amazon rain forest...but I think someone (Anne?) could put a more aesthetically pleasing "body" in the middle!  Challenge on the table!

 (full article was published by Lee and Mazmanian in the journal Science, Vol. 330 no. 6012 pp. 1768-1773, 2010.)