Lonely Planet Writer

See the microscopic winning images from Nikon's Small World 2016 contest

Looking through the lens of a microscope will give you a glimpse of a new and practically invisible world. And it can be breathtaking. The Nikon Small World contest celebrates the most stunning microscope photos from scientists around the world and 2016′s competition had some spectacular entries. From the foot of a diving beetle and dried coffee crystals, to brain cells and cow dung, here are this year’s winning images from an unseen universe:

Four-day-old zebrafish embryo

1st place
1st place Image by Dr Oscar Ruiz/Nikon Small World

Polished slab of a Teepee Canyon agate

2nd place
2nd place Image by Douglas L Moore/Nikon Small World

Brain cells from skin cells

3rd place
3rd place. Image by Rebecca Nutbrown/Nikon Small World

Butterfly proboscis

4th place
4th place Image by Jochen Schroeder/Nikon Small World

Front foot of a male diving beetle

5th place
5th place Image by Dr Igor Siwanowicz/Nikon Small World

Air bubbles formed from melted ascorbic acid (vitamin C) crystals

6th place
6th place Image by Marek Mis/Nikon Small World

Leaves of Selaginella (lesser club moss)

7th place
7th place Image by Dr David Maitland/Nikon Small World

Wildflower stamens

8th place
8th place Image by Samuel Silberman/Nikon Small World

Espresso coffee crystals

9th place
9th place Image by Vin Kitayama & Sanae Kitayama/Nikon Small World

Frontonia (unicellular protozoan)

10th place
10th place Image by Rogelio Moreno Gill/Nikon Small World

Scales on the underside of a butterfly wing

11th place
11th place Image by Francis Sneyers/Nikon Small World

Human hela cell (immortal cells used in scientific research) undergoing cell division

12th place
12th place Image by Dr Dylan Burnette/Nikon Small World

Poison fangs of a centipede

13th place
13th place Image by Walter Piorkowski/Nikon Small World

Retinal ganglion cells of a mouse

14th place
14th place. Image by Dr Keunyoung Kim/Nikon Small World

Head section of an orange ladybird

15th place
15th place. Image by Geir Drange/Nikon Small World
15th place (Geir Drange/Nikon Small World)

Radiolarians (zooplankton) carefully arranged by hand

16th place
16th place.  Image by Stefano Barone/Nikon Small World

Slime mould

17th place
17th place.  Image by Jose R Almodovar/Nikon Small World

Abdominal segment and hind leg of a broad-shouldered leaf beetle

18th place
18th place Image by Pia Scanlon/Nikon Small World

Human neural rosette primordial brain cells, differentiated from embryonic stem cells in the culture dish

19th place
19th place Image by Dr Gist F Croft, Lauren Pietilla, Stephanie Tse, Dr Szilvia Galgoczi, Maria Fenner and Dr Ali H Brivanlou/Nikon Small World

 Cow dung

20th place.
20th place. Image by Michael Crutchley/Nikon Small World

For more images check out Nikon Instruments’s Instagram account.