The world as we know it looks very different when under the glare of a high-powered microscope. Even everyday objects like these can look like they came from outer space.
We think we’re familiar with the everyday objects around us, but have we ever taken a really close look at them? We’re not talking about putting them close to your eye, we’re talking about sticking them under a microscope. The human eye is pretty keen, but science is better and can show us things from a different perspective.
Curiosity has led scientists to try and understand everything about the world. Getting a good look at things through a microscope is just one way of doing that, and it throws up many surprises. Even things we think are super smooth prove to be anything but under the high-intensity lens of the microscope, and it reveals a lot more about things than we would expect.
Not everything viewed through a microscope is nice though, and it can be a little disturbing to see some of the things through the magnifying lens. Check out the everyday objects and things that scientists have placed under the microscope to reveal more about than ever expected.
Hummingbirds appear to be one of the cutest animals in the world thanks to their micro size. Their wings have to flutter at a million miles per hour just to keep them airborne as they shift through the air rapidly. Although these tiny birds appear to be cute to the human eye, under a microscope, certain parts of their body can appear less so.
This is an extreme closeup of a hummingbird’s tongue, and it’s pretty terrifying. It looks more like some kind of scary worm than something you would associate with one of nature’s cutest and most intriguing animals.
Snowflakes are unique because no two are identical. They form unique patterns, and when clumped together, they are great for throwing at unsuspecting people in the park. Up close the snowflake kind of looks just like you would imagine it, only much larger.
The classic snowflake pattern is clear to see, and it seems as though each individual corner has been made in the mirror image of the others. Up close like this, we can see that right down its very core a single snowflake is symmetrical, which makes it all the more impressive so many fall from the sky.
Ant and microchip
We know that ants are pretty small, but this microchip is something else. Technology is so advanced these days that we can manufacture things smaller than ever before. This tiny ant seems to think it has found the missing piece for the colony and it’s planning on bringing the chip back with it.
This image just highlights how far human technology has advanced that we can create things that are not only small, but that have a function too. It really gives a new meaning to the word micro when you compare its size to something we all consider minuscule.
Coffee is the go-juice that is keeping the world productive. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to cope with the morning, and it has become one of the biggest industries on the planet. Up close, this is what coffee looks like, and it seems pretty psychedelic.
No wonder it gets people going when it looks like a rainbow at its core. If people knew they were drinking rainbow every time they had a coffee, we’re sure everyone would have a much happier state of mind. Sadly, coffee turns black when heated, and that’s far less exciting than its true colors.
If you thought that coffee looked like a psychedelic party, then check out its active ingredient, caffeine. We feel as though this explains so much about why caffeine makes us do the things we do whenever we drink it. If that doesn’t get you going, then we’re not sure what will.
It’s like someone managed to liquefy the contents of a kaleidoscope and turn it into an addictive drink the human race cannot function without. Seeing this makes us think that it’s possible that unicorns are real because we are actually drinking rainbows every day and we didn’t know it.
Salt and pepper
Up close it looks as though salt and pepper combined could actually be the ingredients to s’mores. You have got the salt acting as the marshmallow and the pepper acting as the chocolate. Now all we need are some Graham Crackers and a lit campfire to really get this party started.
Somehow we can’t imagine that a salt and pepper s’more is going to be anywhere near as tasty as the regular ones you get when camping. The pepper kind of looks like miniature rocks which makes us wonder why the name ‘ground pepper’ is often used for the seasoning.
There’s no getting around the fact that mosquitoes are annoying. In fact, they might be one of the most annoying insects in the world. All they want to do is find a spot to land on you so they can suck your blood. Then they have that high-pitched buzzing noise that lets you know there’s one in the room.
They don’t get any more likable when you view them up close, and if anything, it just makes us dislike them even more. Now we know the next time one lands on us this is the face of that annoying bug.
Refined and raw sugar
Whenever you eat raw and refined sugar, you can really notice the difference, especially when it comes to texture. If your raw sugar isn’t totally dissolved by the time it makes it into your mouth, you can feel it crunching as you bit with your teeth.
Refined sugar is far less noticeable, and under the microscope you can see why. One granule of refined sugar is about a quarter of the size of raw sugar. They actually seem to be pretty much the same shape, it’s just that one is big and brown, while the other is tiny and white.
Butterfly eggs on the raspberry plant
Some people think butterflies are the most amazing creatures in the world thanks to the transformations they undergo. They start off in these little eggs as larvae before embarking on a wild journey. Once hatched they wriggle around as a caterpillar for weeks eating as much food as they can get their faces on.
Then the magic happens, and they put themselves into a cocoon and begins their outfit change to emerge as a butterfly. These are the butterfly eggs that have been laid on a raspberry plant, and it looks as though these larvae have already begun their journey.
Sharks have this reputation for being scary, and they are seemingly perfectly designed for hunting out prey to feed on. When taking a microscope to their skin, you can see that they are tough on the surface as well as mentally.
Their skin is rugged and coarse, which makes it tough for any animal trying to foolishly attack them. Not that many do, but if they tried they’d need very sharp teeth to make any kind of impression on the shark’s skin. It’s like their skin is razor wire, and every part of their body is out to hurt things.
When you’re lying on the beach and looking at the sand, it all seems the same. It’s so fine and white that you couldn’t possibly imagine it to come in a ton of different colors. Up close, sand actually looks like a precious gem collection, and it seems more valuable than it actually is.
It just looks like a miniature version of all the things you would expect to find in the sea. There are tiny little shells and rocks that make it look like a coral reef has just shrunk. It’s amazing to think that this stuff makes glass.
Needle and thread
Have you ever tried threading a needle? It’s difficult, and this picture shows us why it’s so hard. The thread is nowhere near as smooth as we think it is and that’s why it frays so much when you bring it up to the eye.
It looks more like straw than anything else, and if you imagine pushing a bunch of straw through a hole, you can understand why threading a needle is so tough. Now we don’t feel so bad for taking about an hour trying to thread a needle just to fix a hole in our pants pockets.
Crack in steel
When we look at steel, we think it’s very smooth, but there are often micro cracks on the surface just like these. Steel can feel like a man-made object, but it is found in rocks, which might explain why under the microscope, it looks so familiar.
The crack in this steel looks an awful lot like the Grand Canyon, even down to the different colors in the layers of what looks like a cliff face. It’s a reminder that while steel and metal are essential to how humans live these days, it all comes from the ground beneath our feet.
This is what a bluebottle maggot looks like up close. It’s as though a four-year-old has tried to draw a walrus, and not very successfully either. If anything it seems quite friendly and not something that’ll hatch a gross fly. Bluebottle fly maggots look hilarious, and we can no longer take them seriously.
It’s a shame they have to hatch at all because we prefer these little things to the annoying bluebottles they grow into. At least if they remained as failed walruses, they wouldn’t keep flying into the window every two seconds like they completely forgot it was there.
This is what the surface of rolling paper for tobacco looks like. It seems as though whoever put this paper under the microscope actually landed on an alien planet. The surface looks like something out of this world and more like Superman’s home planet.
These rock formations on the paper are there to keep the flame burning when it’s lit. They burn bright for a second or two to keep the contents of the rolled paper lit. Without these little elements woven into the paper, people wouldn’t be able to smoke without having to constantly use a lighter or match.
This is another butterfly egg, but it looks a lot different from the ones that were laid on the raspberry plant. This egg looks more like it was laid by a dragon thanks to the scaly nature of the gg itself. Even more impressive though is the platform that the egg is raised upon.
It makes the egg appear very special, almost like it’s an egg laid for a king or queen. The egg also seems to be defying gravity because it looks as though it should be toppled over, yet it is somehow beating the odds and standing tall.
This is how those mascara brush companies make sure your makeup doesn’t clump your eyelashes together. It has taken years of research, but they have finally cracked it. They have woven the fibers of the brush together in this spiral so that when you brush your eyelashes with it they curl slightly.
You can tell this is synthetic because there are very few imperfections on the surface when compared to the other things we’ve looked at through the microscope. This also helps the mascara to stop clumping on the brush so more of it can be applied to your eyelashes.
Just like the bristles on the mascara brush, these toothbrush bristles are uniform in shape. They all appear to be exactly the same, and that’s what comes when companies have mastered their manufacturing process. This close the toothbrush actually looks an awful lot like asparagus or wheat.
We’re not sure how effective those would before keeping your teeth clean though so for now we’re going to stick to our toothbrush. The bristles don’t appear to be all that dirty either, so we’re assuming this toothbrush hasn’t been used by anybody just yet otherwise we’d get a close up of plaque.
Steel is one of the strongest materials we use in building and manufacturing. To make it so strong, sometimes it is woven together in a pattern just like this. It’s like if you were to weave some grass together, individually each strand is weak, but together they are very durable.
The same principle applies to steel, except it is weaving together an already strong material to make it even stronger. Steel is used as a material for building houses, but also many of the tools that put the house together in the first place are made out of the material.
Sugar in water
Sugar dissolved in water has a similar appearance to caffeine, but it’s not as in your face. Perhaps that’s why sugar isn’t as effective at giving us the boost we need because it’s not as strong as caffeine. It’s still pretty psychedelic though, and we can see why it does have some kind of effect on us.
The sugar dissolved in water looks a lot like it belongs in an art gallery thanks to the slashes of color running through it. This explosion of color all seems to stem from just one spot, perhaps where the sugar granule is situated.
The starfish is one of the most iconic aquatic creatures that lives in the sea. They are seemingly harmless creatures that don’t really do anything, but they do look pretty amazing. This is a baby seastar as it begins its journey into the big scary sea.
It already has that distinctive star shape to it, and those tiny little tentacles are presumably way it uses to move until its limbs grow out a bit more. The more its limbs grow, the more of those tentacles that will appear to help the seastar move along any surface it attaches itself to.
Dental floss and plaque
Dental floss has become an essential for hygiene because it reaches all the places our brushes cannot. That means floss gets the wonderful job of finding all the plaque in our mouths that our brushes didn’t remove. It’s a dirty job but something’s got to do it, and it might as well be dental floss seeing as that’s why it was invented.
This floss has been successful in its mission and has found some plaque to take with it into the garbage. It’s pretty gross, and we’re glad floss gets rid of that otherwise it would remain in our mouths.
Cut beard hairs
Here are two examples of cut beard hairs. The one on the left is a cleaner cut than the one on the right, which appears to have been mangled. The beard hair on the left has been cut with a razor, which explains why it is so clean in comparison to the other.
The hair on the right has been cut using an electric shaver, and you can see the difference in the two methods. If you can spare the extra few minutes in the morning, it appears that using a razor instead of an electric shaver is much better.
Geckos can climb on pretty much any surface thanks to the sticky pads on their feet. What you might not have noticed about the reptile is the little claw it has at the end of each toe to help it dig into things.
It’s not just the suction pad feet that help the gecko to climb on anything, it’s also the handy little claws on the end of its toe. These super adhesive reptiles can actually climb on any surface they’ve ever been given a test on with one exception, Teflon, which is what non-stick cooking pots are made of.
If we could all see dust like this, would we be in such a hurry to get rid of it? It’s just like the sand in that the closer you look at it, the more fascinating it becomes. There appears to be a couple of things among the dusty bits and pieces that look a bit scary.
There’s the spiky lemon in the top right of the picture which looks like it will attach itself to anything and not let go. Then there is the alien lifeform in the top center of the picture, which seems to have a face.
Microchip technology continues to advance further and further. They appear to be getting smaller, yet we can store more on them than ever before. If you didn’t know this was a silicon microchip, you might assume this was actually a close up of some kind of kid’s toy.
Almost every possible space has been filled up by a little colorful track that kind of looks soft enough to be a pillow. We seem to have removed the need for metal in some aspects of our technology as there appears to be no limit to how advanced human knowledge will become.
This gross-looking creature is the caddisfly. It looks an awful lot like a shrimp, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t considered a delicacy anywhere in the world. The amazing thing about the caddisfly is that the larvae of the insects are laid in the water, yet the adults are land-based.
Perhaps that’s why they look so similar to shellfish, because they actually spend a part of their lives living and surviving in the water. When in the water they build themselves tunnels for protection but also to hide in and wait for food to come along for them to ambush.
Earwax on cotton bud
This looks like it could be a torch used in a cave, but in reality, it’s much more boring than that. You won’t be lighting any dungeon braziers with this as it’s earwax on a cotton bud. The main goal of a cotton bud is to help clear your ear passageway by gathering as much wax as possible.
It looks as though whoever stuck this bud in their ear hit the motherload as the tip is completely covered in wax. It really doesn’t look much like a cotton bud, and it seems more likely to be a match or torch.
If you’ve ever been licked by a cat, you’ll have noticed their tongues feel a little rough. It feels a bit like sandpaper, but it also tickles a little. When you get a closer look at a cat’s tongue, this is what it’s made up of.
There are tiny little barbs which ensure that anything it’s eating can’t crawl back out of its mouth and escape. This is just a domestic cat but even larger cats, like lions and tigers, have similar tongues. It also comes in handy when they are grooming themselves to remove as much dirt as possible.
Nightmare fuel (fly larvae)
Say goodbye to ever getting a good night’s sleep again because this image is going to haunt your dreams. It looks like some kind of demon, but it’s actually just a fly larva. The worst thing about it is that it looks as though it wants a hug, but we can’t imagine there’s a long line of volunteers.
Despite being in the early stages of its life, this fly larva is terrifying. Flies are not cute, but why couldn’t their young look a lot more like a puppy or kitten, or just something that won’t send shivers down your spine?
With these little bobbly bits for grip, it is strange to think that banana skins are such a slippery material. The skin on this banana actually looks like it could be a cobbled street, but we’re not sure it’s a suitable surface for driving a car on.
There would be a ton more accidents on the roads if they were made with banana skins rather than the concrete and asphalt currently used. Trying to pass your driving test on a banana skin road would make it feel as though you were playing Mario Kart rather than having a serious drive.
If you were wondering why velcro was so sticky, then you no longer have to keep guessing. The sticky fabric works by pairing these strands of material with loops on the opposing side. Once they come into contact with each other, they stick together forming a bond until the user wants to rip them open.
The gaps near the top of the velcro loops mean that it’s easy to tear them apart. It’s a bit like sticking something in a padlock and when it is time to unlock it you just turn the key, and the loop leaves a gap.
We know that Batman bases his look and gadgets on bats, but this moth wing could easily be mistaken for a part of the Batsuit. The string ridges make sure that the moth’s wings are able to stay strong even in some of the strongest winds.
Their wings won’t crumple like an umbrella thanks to the strong structure. The holes in the wings ensure that they don’t get completely taken by the wind and they can go their own way. Moths are known for being dusty, but there doesn’t appear to be much of the colorful dust we saw
At first glance, this could be mistaken for some kind of tropical waterfall, but it’s actually what happens when you slice a banana then look at it really closely. The two sides are being pulled apart, and the strings in the middle are valiantly trying to keep it all together, but it is not going to happen.
Who knew that up close a banana had so many layers and kind of would resemble an onion? Thankfully they are much sweeter than onions and eating one won’t have people avoiding sharing a small space with you because of your bad breath.
Guitar strings have been a hugely important invention in human history. Without them, we wouldn’t have the majority of the rock and pop music we have known and loved over the generations. They have evolved to become synthetic rather than being made out of animal parts, but in this picture, it kind of looks like a worm.
In this picture, the guitar string looks like it’s alive and crawling to get away from the camera. The ribbed design is much easier to see from this level of magnitude, and that’s what helps it vibrate so much when plucked or strummed.