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Author Topic: Anyone seen images through microscope?  (Read 10388 times)

Offline ajahndon

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« on: 25/04/2009 01:20:29 »
As a child in the 1950s I viewed sugar and salt through my new microscope received for Christmas.  Both appeared as rough tan cubes, but one salt grain was surprising? It contained the distinct image of a woman in a red robe.  Many details were clearly visible such as curls in her blond hair, her face, the folds in her robe and the open black covered book held open in her hands about waist level.  Behind her were the whitish shapes of folded wings.  It could be compared to images seen in cathedral stained glass windows.  All family members saw it until my sister bumped the table jarring the salt grains on the slide and it was gone.  We referred to it as an angel, but the red robe seemed more appropriate as a choir robe - white would maybe have been more "angelic" looking.

I've come to accept it as a trick of the light..  but what a trick it was!!  I've always wondered if any professional scientists who routinely view microscopic images have ever experienced anything similar.  I looked at salt with that microscope for years afterward and never saw the slightest hint of another "image" not even a stray ray or glint of colored light.

I'd like to hear from anyone who may have seem something strange like this...  Thanks in advance!!


 

Offline RD

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #1 on: 25/04/2009 01:42:52 »
As a child in the 1950s I viewed sugar and salt through my new microscope received for Christmas

... one salt grain was surprising? It contained the distinct image of a woman in a red robe.


Possibly a reflected image of an angelic figure on a Christmas card / wrapping paper...
 
The illumination for your microscope was probably via a mirror, a spherical shaped grain of salt could act as a lens, converting your microscope into a sort of telescope capable of focussing on objects in the room reflected in the mirror.
« Last Edit: 25/04/2009 03:13:51 by RD »
 

Offline RD

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #2 on: 25/04/2009 01:59:08 »
Not an angel in salt, but Snow White in a drop of water, (acting as a lens) ...



http://www.flickr.com/photos/impian/2063107316/in/set-72157605347022340/


There is an upside down silhouette of the faucet and the dripping water at the seven o'clock position in the drop.
« Last Edit: 25/04/2009 02:12:18 by RD »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #3 on: 25/04/2009 02:19:33 »
but one salt grain was surprising? It contained the distinct image of a woman in a red robe.  Many details were clearly visible such as curls in her blond hair, her face, the folds in her robe and the open black covered book held open in her hands about waist level. 
That sounds quite amazing! :o
 

Offline RD

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #4 on: 25/04/2009 02:47:44 »
« Last Edit: 25/04/2009 02:49:26 by RD »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #5 on: 25/04/2009 02:49:24 »
Wow, that's even better than the last one! :o Good job Mr. RD. :)
 

Offline ajahndon

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #6 on: 27/04/2009 23:04:06 »
Thanks for the all reads and replies..
Actually the light source was not the mirror that came with the microscope.  In the days leading up to Christmas my father and our neighbor built a wooden stand/mount with a battery box, switch and flashlight bulb (no reflector) positioned under the stage.  I suppose some variations in the glass of the bulb could have created anomalies to be seen in the image - such as you see when shining a flashlight beam against a wall, but as I indicated, nothing ever appeared in years of later viewing.  The salt grains were not spherical at all, they were more like rough hewn cubic bolders, where there were chips missing or corners broken off those areas were squarish/cubic as well.  The shiny sugar grains were more rounded, although still not spherical.  As I recall there were no Christmas decorations in the kitchen, and I think if it was a reflection of something in the house, someone would have recognized it as such.  Most folks look at me like I have two heads when I relate this story - akin to UFO stories I guess.  Just too weird for words. If it happened today there'd be a chance of capturing it on a camera.  Alas, a camera is what I got a couple of Christmases later.
 

Offline RD

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #7 on: 27/04/2009 23:55:49 »
What about a bit of chrome on the microscope reflecting a printed angelic image onto the face of a crystal ?.

Alternatively a crystal itself could act as a mirror. If the face of the crystal were subtly concave it could also act like the mirror in a reflecting telescope, allowing your optics to focus on objects in the room.
« Last Edit: 27/04/2009 23:57:31 by RD »
 

Offline ajahndon

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #8 on: 29/04/2009 04:05:35 »
RD - Great water droplet photos BTW!

I can't adequately convey the level of detail of this little image; like stained glass windows - some of which I've read had painted highlights added for more detail.  I'm pretty much convinced it had to be some fluke of refraction within the salt that caused it.. It did not appear to be projected onto the surface, or follow the roughness of the underlying surface, it was almost like a tiny flat sliver of transparency just laying on the salt, there didn't appear to be any depth to her other than shadows in the folds and the wings were definitely behind her - but overall she was a flat image.  Remember now, I've 50+ years to try and rationalize this in my own mind.

Thanks to all the folks with suggestions.  There must be hundreds of students and scientists across the internet who routinely use microscopes.  I have posted this story on a handful of websites asking if they've ever seen inexplicable images and I've never received a single reply.  So this alone says a lot for this community.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #9 on: 29/04/2009 07:06:21 »
Thanks to all the folks with suggestions. 
Well there was only one folk, :) Mr. RD who also managed to get his paws on some good photos.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #10 on: 29/04/2009 11:58:36 »
Let me say that I'm not out to dispute what you saw, but there are other a couple of things to consider too.

Firstly, human memory is terribly fallible - the longer ago something happened, the less likely the event will be accurately recalled. The brain has a fantastic capacity to fill-in the gaps, and often, the more commonly an anecdote is relayed, the greater the differences between reality and the anecdote.  This is just a human trait, and not an accusation of falsification, you understand!

The second aspect is also brain oriented, and is a phenomenon called "pareidolia". It is the capacity of the brain to interpret otherwise random images into more recognisable ones that we are familiar with, and most commonly, faces. There are many instances in which people have "seen" effigies etc in shadows, tea leaves, pizzas - you name it. Perhaps the most common instance is where we see images in clouds. So this well-known behaviour in conjunction with your recollection of the event could well account for the image that you saw in your microscope.
 

Offline ajahndon

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #11 on: 02/05/2009 23:20:59 »
I've heard of mass hallucinations (if the six of us there can constitute a "mass").. and of course the power of suggestion could have played a part.  Whether all the others were seeing the exact same thing I was; I can only judge by their descriptions and agreements.  In an earlier post I suggested it looked like a sliver of transparency "on" the surface, thinking about it, that's not accurate - it looked more embedded at the surface level, but not like it was projected onto the surface.  Taking turns I probably saw it 5 or 6 times before it was lost, and it was always the same. The colors were distinct and true, not tainted by the tan to brownish color of the salt itself.  When the table was bumped and the image lost, the same crystal was definitely gone from view.  I wish I'd had the sense to try micro adjusting the slide - to see if that would have been enough to lose or change the image. To see the same crystal before or after the image might have been useful.
 

Offline tangoblue

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
« Reply #12 on: 05/05/2009 13:55:15 »
yes
 

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Anyone seen images through microscope?
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