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To make the image, John Hart of the University of Colorado, Boulder, melted together sulfur (picture) and acetanilide, a toxic substance once used as an antiseptic. The mixture then formed crystals, seen here magnified ten times under specially polarized light.
Ropy red strands glow in a tiny slice of a Wistar rat's retina, as seen under hundred-power magnification in a prizewinning picture created by Cameron Johnson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Rub-a-dub-dub, 16 bubbles on a microscope slide: These psychedelic orbs are tiny circles of soap film, photographed with simple lighting and 150-power magnification.
Glowing balls of pollen stick to the stigma of a four o'clock flower in this multiple-exposure composite image by Robert Markus of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The picture was made with fluorescent light, which caused the pollen to light up blue.
Acid harvested from a lichen plant is seen in polarized light at ten-power magnification
This lucky mushroom coral—photographed at 166-power magnification by James Nicholson at a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility in Charleston, South Carolina—got to enjoy its time in the micro-spotlight while still alive.
Cancerous cells glow green thanks to a genetic insertion of green fluorescent protein. (Learn more about GFP in our glowing-animals photo gallery.) Paul D. Andrews of the University of Dundee in Scotland created the picture using fluorescent light.
This picture, made by Yanping Wang of the Beijing Language and Culture University in China, shows the salty condiment crystallized, under 16-power magnification.
Apparently not content with their work during the Black Death, fleas have now invaded the world of microscope photography. Duane Harland captured this dog flea, or Ctenocephalides canis, with fluorescent light at ten-power magnification, winning ninth place in the 2010 Small World Microphotography Competition.
No, it's not gumball machine merchandise. Pictured magnified 18 times, the mineral cacoxenite is found in some iron ores and is considered a nuisance, as it lowers the quality of the iron.
You're filled with these, most likely: endothelial cells, which line the interiors of blood vessels, capillaries, arteries, and your heart. The cells help hold blood in and encourage it to move along, discouraging clots. In smokers, endothelial cells start misbehaving early on, and are thought to be useful predictors of heart attacks or strokes.
Pictured in ordinary light, a red seaweed of the genus Martensia is shown under 40-power magnification in an image by John Huisman of Murdoch University in Australia.
The olfactory bulbs, or smell organs, of zebrafish are seen in a 250-power magnified image by Oliver Braubach of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
TextZebrafish were popular this year (see previous photo). This 20-power picture of a five-day-old zebrafish's head by Hideo Otsuna of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City placed second in the competition.
Spread by mosquitoes, malaria kills someone every 30 seconds. Researcher Jonas King, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, hopes to do something about it, and his hundred-power image of a mosquito heart might help.