Hydrozoan Medusa, Gravitational Lens, and Similarity Across Scales

April 05, 2017

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Photographer: John Stetson
Summary Author: John Stetson

Featured above is a Hydrozoan medusa, a type of bioluminescent jellyfish that was collected from a plankton tow on Casco Bay, Maine. It was photographed, at 400x magnification, as a part of an in-class exercise with Southern Maine Community College students. This sample is about100 microns across, smaller than the width of a human hair.

The tiny Hydrozoan medusa seems to have a striking similarity to a Hubble Space Telescope image of gravitational lens G2237+0305. Sir Isaac Newton said the following on the subject of similarity across scales: "Nature is very similar to itself ... performing all the great movements of celestial bodies with the help of attraction, gravity ... and every small particle motion of these bodies ... with the help of other attractive and repulsive forces binding particles."

Photo taken on October 13, 2016.