Spring is in the air – and for many hay fever sufferers that means a runny nose, bloodshot eyes and constant bouts of sneezing. But whats this?
A scientist with a very expensive (£250,000) camera has captured these pictures in his home for the world to see. Martin Oeggerli, who uses the name Micronaut for his art, said he perfected the images after ten years of trial and error with the equipment. Using a vacuum chamber, he bounces an electron beam off the pollen grain’s surface and maps out its tiny features using a scanning electron microscope. Each grains is only between 1.5 and ten hundredths of a millimetre across – thats quite small.
‘People know a lot about pollen, what with so many hay fever sufferers during the summer’ said Mr Oeggerli, ‘So it’s funny to think that until now a lot of them will have never seen the grains before. Pollen is quite robust so you can easily put it into the microscope camera.’
The images come out in shades of grey, which means the Swiss scientist has to colour all of his incredible pictures himself on a computer. But, despite the misery pollens cause, under the microscope these micro organisms look quite stunning.
Pollen from a venus flytrap look like broccoli when viewed under the microscope (top right)
Pollen from the silk tree albizi Pollen from the silk tree albizi (right)
Pollen from a forgetmenot (below)
All photos © Caters News Agency