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These are the most startling photos from the world of science this year

Published 14th August 2019
Stag beetle. Light microscopy. Magnification 5x
Credit: Viktor Sykora/RPS
These are the most startling photos from the world of science this year
Written by Dominic Rech, CNN
Ever wondered what a stag beetle looks like under a very powerful magnifying glass? Or how bubbles are formulated and structured? Maybe you are confused by the peculiar ways jellyfish move underwater?
No? Well, even if you didn't, now you don't have to. The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) has released a shortlist of spellbinding images. All of which are sure to make your mind wander.
Calmness of Eternity by Yevhen Samuchenko was taken in the Himalayas in Nepal at Gosaikunda lake at 4,400m. The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye.
Calmness of Eternity by Yevhen Samuchenko was taken in the Himalayas in Nepal at Gosaikunda lake at 4,400m. The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye. Credit: Yevhen Samuchenko/RPS
In an attempt to showcase the best photos across science, the RPS launched the Science Photographer of the Year competition, with the shortlisted entries to be exhibited in London from October 7 until January 5 of next year.
Soap Bubble Structures by Kym Cox. Bubbles want to optimise space and minimise their surface area for a given volume of air. This unique phenomenon makes them a reliable, useful tool in many areas of research. In particular, materials science and 'packing' -- how things fit together.  Bubble walls drain under gravity, thin at the top, thick at the bottom and interferes with travelling lightwaves to create bands of colour. Black spots show the wall is too thin for interference colours, indicating the bubble is about to burst.
Soap Bubble Structures by Kym Cox. Bubbles want to optimise space and minimise their surface area for a given volume of air. This unique phenomenon makes them a reliable, useful tool in many areas of research. In particular, materials science and 'packing' -- how things fit together. Bubble walls drain under gravity, thin at the top, thick at the bottom and interferes with travelling lightwaves to create bands of colour. Black spots show the wall is too thin for interference colours, indicating the bubble is about to burst. Credit: Kym Cox/RPS
Seventy images will be on display at the Science Museum in a specially designed space, intended to allow visitors time to absorb them and discover more about their background stories.
Tribolium confusum. Confused Flour Beetle by David Spears. This small beetle is a pest in stored grain and flour products. The image was captured by a scanning electron micrograph and was then coloured in Photoshop.
Tribolium confusum. Confused Flour Beetle by David Spears. This small beetle is a pest in stored grain and flour products. The image was captured by a scanning electron micrograph and was then coloured in Photoshop. Credit: David Spears/RPS
Safety Corona by Richard Germain. A safety pin is connected to a high tension AC generator. The pin ionizes the air around it. When the electrons fall back on an atom, the excess energy is emitted as a photon, which generate the corona glow around the pin. The fuzziness of the pin is because the camera did not actually capture light reflected on the pin but rather the light emitted by the ionized light around it.
Safety Corona by Richard Germain. A safety pin is connected to a high tension AC generator. The pin ionizes the air around it. When the electrons fall back on an atom, the excess energy is emitted as a photon, which generate the corona glow around the pin. The fuzziness of the pin is because the camera did not actually capture light reflected on the pin but rather the light emitted by the ionized light around it. Credit: Richard Germain/RPS
The images were created through various forms of modern technology -- from digital telescopes and the latest medical imaging equipment to the humble smartphone.
Mapping Oxygen by Yasmin Crawford. It was her final major project for an MA in photography at Falmouth University, which focused on examining the research behind myalgic encephalomyelitis. Through exploration of perspective, complexities, and scientific multidisciplinary collaborations, she says she creates imagery that explains, reveals and connects us consciously to the ambiguous and unknown.
Mapping Oxygen by Yasmin Crawford. It was her final major project for an MA in photography at Falmouth University, which focused on examining the research behind myalgic encephalomyelitis. Through exploration of perspective, complexities, and scientific multidisciplinary collaborations, she says she creates imagery that explains, reveals and connects us consciously to the ambiguous and unknown. Credit: Yasmin Crawford/RPS
Gary Evans, the exhibition's coordinator, said in a statement: "Science has always been integral to photography and photography remains essential to science as a tool for research and for communicating it to the public. The RPS is delighted to be exhibiting at the Science Museum, where we are sure the images will engage, entertain and educate in equal measure."
Upside Down Jellyfish by Mary Anne Chilton. Instead of swimming, this species spends its time pulsing up and down in the water.  Their diet is sea plankton and their coloration comes from the uptake of algae in the water.
Upside Down Jellyfish by Mary Anne Chilton. Instead of swimming, this species spends its time pulsing up and down in the water. Their diet is sea plankton and their coloration comes from the uptake of algae in the water. Credit: Mary Anne Chilton/RPS
"Since its inception, photography has bridged the worlds of art and science with images which spark and sate curiosity in equal measure," added Roger Highfield, science director at the museum and a competition judge.
Lovell Telescope by Marge Bradshaw. She has been fascinated with the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank since she went on a school trip. She wanted to take a series of closer, more detailed shots, showing the wear on it.
Lovell Telescope by Marge Bradshaw. She has been fascinated with the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank since she went on a school trip. She wanted to take a series of closer, more detailed shots, showing the wear on it. Credit: Marge Bradshaw/RPS
North America Nebula by Dave Watson. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust. The North America Nebula, NGC7000, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus. The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America, complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico.
North America Nebula by Dave Watson. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust. The North America Nebula, NGC7000, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cygnus. The remarkable shape of the nebula resembles that of the continent of North America, complete with a prominent Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Dave Watson/RPS
The competition was open to all ages and levels of expertise and the winners in two categories -- Science Photographer of the Year and Young Science Photographer of the Year -- will be announced on October 7.
CNN's Rob Picheta contributed.