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The Most Amazing Science Images of 2012

by on December 28, 2012
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Beneath the specialized language and formal rigors of science is a simple, easily forgotten principle: Science is way of exploring the world, and our world is a fantastic place. Check out these amazing science images:

Spider Attack in Amber

A spider attacks a wasp: A minute, everyday event, something that’s happened billions upon billions of times in these antagonists’ evolutionary history, each incident lost to time. But not this meeting, entombed by tree resin 100 million years ago in what’s now Myanmar. The resin turned to amber, a time capsule both beautiful and informative.

amber_spider_attack

Topographical Moon

It’s difficult for the unaided eye to appreciate the striking, varied geography of the moon, which has peaks higher than Mount Everest and craters nearly as deep as the Marianas Trench. This topographical map, published by NASA in February, conveys that geography in glorious fashion.

moonelevation

Sandy From Space

Superstorm. Megastorm. Frankenstorm. Some 1,100 miles across, Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane ever.

Dinosaurs have always been fun to imagine, and doubly so since scientists realized that some had feathers. This detail comes from an artist’s rendering of Yutyrannus huali, a 30-foot-long forerunner ofTyrannosaurus rex that, by virtue of its place on the dinosaur family tree, suggests that most of the great reptiles were feather-clad.

sandy-oct30_full

A Drop of Life

The microscopic world is a cornucopia of beautiful images; most any finalist in Nikon’s Small World contest or the Olympus Bioscapes Digital Imaging Competition deserves inclusion on this year-end image list. But if just one is to be picked, let it be this single-celled algae photographed by Marek Mis, conveying in its light and color the essences of life itself.

cosmarium_microscopy

The Ghost Dragon

A 120-million-year-old flying reptile discovered in northeast China, the aptly named Guidraco venator – Chinese and Latin for “ghost dragon hunter” — had a 15-foot wingspan and a snaggle-toothed mouth that could have been imagined by Tim Burton.

feathered_dinos_detail

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