A Christmas Mystery Micscape Tour

A seasonal look back at some Micscape articles
and two microscopical discoveries that hit the headlines

 compiled by Dave Walker with thanks to all the Micscape contributors

Why not join me for a brief end of the year tour of the Micscape site, where we try to show you the fascinating fun things you and your kids can do to examine the world in close up over the Christmas break. Click on the image if you wish to read about any topic.

Is it snowing outside? If so, have you ever wondered how you can look at snow crystals under the microscope? These articles describes how you can look at these elusive subjects. Every crystal is different and they can assume many wonderful variants on the six-sided symmetry. If you don't fancy using your microscope outside, why not try the 10X hand lens instead using the guidelines in the article.

Many people will be watching the TV during the Christmas holidays, although hopefully not as close as the image on the right. Why not have a closer look at your TV screen with a hand lens and compare it with the computer monitor screen. The article shows how you can study a variety of objects around your home in close-up.
  Click on the image if you wish to read about any topic.

If you eat too many of the 'nice but naughty' foods over Christmas you may need a trip to the man / woman you may dread to visit .... the dentist. The image right shows a dental X-ray of teeth. Read Maurice's Nightmare Article on how he got on with his dentist and learn a bit more about the teeth and their care.

  Click on the image if you wish to read about any topic.


An invigorating walk in the country can be very pleasant in Winter especially as there's a surprising amount of things to study in close up with a hand lens or low power stereo microscope at this time of year. Have a browse through the winter month topics in the Virtual Nature Walk Index to see what to lookout for. The image right shows a rotifer, a microscopic organism that can be found in a bird-bath or roof gutter.

  Click on the image if you wish to read about any topic.

We encourage people to use a 8-10X hand lens as much as a microscope on Micscape, because even this low magnification can reveal wonderful detail ... and they are so easy to carry with you and for the kids to use at well. Read two articles on what you can do with a hand lens, and how you can even take photographs through them.


Do you recognise the pair of microscopic creatures on the right? They're about one third of a millimetre long and live on the lips of the Norwegian Lobster which is used to make scampi. This time last year as a result of an article published in the Journal 'Nature', this organism called Symbion pandora attracted the attention of the media all over the world. With the generous help of the authors of this paper and the Journal 'Nature', Micscape were able to publish one of the few illustrated articles on the Web describing why this organism was so important.

  Click on the image if you wish to read about any topic.

One of the most controversial but exciting announcements of the year if not the decade was the reporting of the fossil evidence for microscopic life formerly existing on Mars, which was found in the meteorite shown. Visit the supplement to the Hotsites page which gives some links to see the images with a link to the original article that sparked the controversy.


If like many people this Christmas you enjoy re-reading the story of Jesus' birth in the Bible, you may be interested in the attempts over the years to condense the text of the Bible into the smallest possible area, so small in fact that a microscope is required to read it. The image shows a microfiche of the entire Bible with a match head to indicate scale. The article also shows a microphotograph of the Lord's Prayer that could fit on a full stop.

So, that's just a brief look at the many articles you may find of interest in our Articles Library and on the Microscopy UK satellite sites. The library is divided into topics so you can choose a topic of interest. Visit the Library now.

Also visit Virtual Nature Walks


 Meteorite image courtesy of NASA. Pandora image courtesy of 'Nature' (Macmillan Publishers), Peter Funch and Reinhardt Kristensen (University of Copenhagen).


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