January 19, 2018

Beyond the Naked Eye – Cool Microscopic Imagery

Cool Microscopic Images

There is a whole other world going on – all around us – but it is completely invisible to the naked eye! The folks at Nikon know this very well. For more than 30 years now, Nikon has held an annual “Small World Photomicrography Competition.” The event is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. Below are some images we found particularly cool from this event, along with additional microscopic images that we thought you might enjoy…

Flea at 20x Modification

Flea 20x Modification

This very colorful, but scary looking fellow is a common flea (Ctenocephalides canis) at only 20x magnification.
Snowflake magnified by microscope

Snowflakes Magnified by Microscope

Who knew that a snowflake was so intricate? Amazing.
Microscopic Mosquito Heart

Microscopic Mosquito Heart

Wow. This is the 2010 Nikon Small World winner. Believe it or not, this is a mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) heart shown under 100x magnification.
Juvenile Mollusc Microcope

Juvenile Bivalve Mollusc 10x Modification

This little guy is the 2010 Nikon Small World 12th place winner. It is a Juvenile bivalve mollusc, Lima sp. at 10x modification.
Microscopic Rust

Microscopic Rust

This is common rust metal under a microscope. (Crystals of phosphate in a saturated solution.)
Snowflake Images Magnified by Microscope

Additional Snowflake Images

More amazing microscopic images of snowflakes.
Sugar under the microscope

Sugar Under the Microscope

Raw brown sugar as seen through a microscope.
Sea Monkey Under Microscope

Sea Monkeys!!

Sea Monkey under a microscope. These were very popular thanks to “as seen on tv commercials” several years ago. I actually have a small little aquarium of these things in my house right now. Our 5-year-old saw them at Wal-Mart and just had to have them. If you’ve never seen these before, you can buy a kit that has a small little aquarium (about two cups of water in size) and a dry package of Sea Monkey “eggs.” You put the eggs in the water and in a few days – viola – you’ve got live Sea Monkeys swimming around in the aquarium!! (I believe these are some form of plankton, but I’m not 100% sure.)
Baby Sea Star Under Microscope

Oral Surface of a Young Seastar

This interesting image is the oral surface of a young seastar at 40x modification.
Mouse Embryo

Mouse Embryo 17x Magnification

This image is the 2007 Nikon Small World Competition winner. It is a double transgenic mouse embryo at only 18.5 days.
Beautiful Snowflake Up Close


This up-close photograph of a snowflake may not be microscopic, but it is beautiful and close enough for us to show it to you!
Dr Paul Andrews Microscopic Cancer Cells

Microscopic Cancer Cells Splitting

Incredible image. This is two Telophase HeLa (cancer) cells captured just as they are splitting off to form four cells. (100x modification.)


When you’re finished here, click on over to the Nikon Small World Competition website to check out all the entrants from this year and years past.



  1. Your blog is nice and Very good post!

  2. Sea Monkeys are Brine Shrimp. Just fyi 🙂

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