A miniature universe exists just beyond our sight — these photos capture it in beautiful, breathtaking detail

nikon small world microscope images 1st placeYousef Al Habshi/Nikon Small World

The world is not as it seems. Just beyond the limits of our vision exists a miniature universe that beckons to be explored by curious, oversize humans.

Microscopes give us a window into that tiny cosmos, and talented photographers and videographers from around the world have used the tools for centuries to document it in stunning detail. But the equipment and techniques to take microscope photos get better with each passing year.

In honor of the beauty and scientific importance of micrographs, as such pictures are called, the Nikon Small World contest rounds up the best images every year and awards prizes to the top 20 entries. This year marks the 44th competition.

Judging involves poring over thousands of photos, spotting fakes and non-microscopic images, and then assessing the technique, subject matter, and “wow” factor of the remainder.

What you see above is the first-place image, which was taken by Al Habshi in the United Arab Emirates. It shows the compound eye of a half-inch-long Asian red palm weevil, also known as Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer, decorated with brilliant green scales.

“Not all people appreciate small species, particularly insects,” Habashi said in a press release. “Through photomicrography we can find a whole new, beautiful world which hasn’t been seen before. It’s like discovering what lies under the ocean’s surface.”

To see all of the photos the judges picked as winners, keep scrolling.

This cluster of reproductive cells within a fern won second-place.

Rogelio Moreno/Nikon Small World

This is third place: a spittlebug nymph huddling inside a protective coat of bubbles.

Saulius Gugis/Nikon Small World

Ever seen a peacock feather this close? This is the fourth-place winner.

Can Tunçer/Nikon Small World


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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