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High-Powered Microscopes Let One Company Capture The Very Best Scientific Images

In 1846, Carl Zeiss opened a workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena, Germany. 168 years later, ZEISS is producing some of the world’s best microscopes and taking incredible pictures of tiny worlds.

Ladybug legAdhesive section of a ladybug leg. Courtesy of Dr. Jan Michels, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany.

After stumbling onto ZEISS Microscopy’s Flickr page, I was enraptured with colorful mouse neurons and stained octopus embryos. These photos were taken with everything from simply high-powered microscopes to top-of-the-line scanning-electron microscopes. In a lot of cases, you don’t have to zoom in that far to see an amazing new view, but you do need the right equipment:

Any headHead of an ant. Courtesy of Dr. Jan Michels, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany.

In other cases, you need laser-scanning microscopes and fluorescent dyes to bring out different tissues:

Squid embryoFluorescence microscopy of a multistained squid embryo. Courtesy of the MBL Embryology Course 2013 participants Nathan Kenny, Kathryn McClelland, Sophie Miller.

Or sometimes you just get something horrifying when you look too close:

Tick headHead of a tick (Ixodidae family). Courtesy of Dr. Emil Zieba, Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin/Poland.

But there is beauty hidden in this world of the small. Neurons inside a mouse hippocampus, for example, look like a cross between trees and fireworks:

Mouse NeuronMouse neurons. Courtesy of Yi Zuo, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Department, University of California Santa Cruz

ZEISS Microscopy has hundreds of amazing photos like this. Head over to their Flickr page to see more, and check out some of my other selections in the gallery below.

FEATURED IMAGE: Longfin inshore squid. Courtesy of Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, and Development

GALLERY IMAGES (from left to right):

Spider, Genus Araneae

Octopus bimaculoides embryo

Zebrafish Head

Multichannel fluorescence slide scanning of mouse brain

Eledone sp., tentacle arm

Fruit fly adult brain with proboscis

Peppercorn

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