butterfly wing

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Colors at the Nanoscale: Butterflies, Beetles and Opals

In this activity, museum visitors will be exposed to the term ‘Photonic Crystals’. They will see and explore some of the well-known photonic crystals in nature and will also be able observe one method that scientists use in trying to replicate this process.

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Zoom Into a Butterfly Wing poster

This illustration shows a butterfly's wing across ten orders of magnitude, from the butterfly to the atoms of which it is made. Using the conventions of visual perspective the image travels in one continuous “landscape” from the human scale at the top to the atomic scale in the foreground. Placing objects from the butterfly's wing in one frame clarifies connections between components, highlighting the system’s reliance on structures at very different scales. This version of the image is a poster with annotated text explaining the different objects in the image, but it is also available as...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing (reflected light)

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, light reflected from the scales creates the Morpho's characteristic iridescent blue color.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing (non-reflected light)

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, only the light passing through the wing is seen, revealing the wing's pigment-produced brown hue.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and...

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Illustration Zoom into a Butterfly 2008 Formative Evaluation

This formative evaluation looks at the second version of a poster created to help visitors visualize the nanoscale structures in a butterfly wing. This version includes annotations to call out the different structures of the butterfly wing and reflects changes made to better align the illustration with scientific content.

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