Vortices are beautiful and mysterious, found at every imaginable scale—from soap bubbles to black holes. They're so ubiquitous, in fact, that we tend to overlook them. But new research shows that studying the simplest vortices could glean surprising scientific insights.
Just look at the wonderful vortex shining in rainbow colors in the photo above. It was captured by a group of physicists at the University of Bordeaux, France, who heated soap bubbles from below to create large vortices like this one. The researchers discovered that these swirling vortices look like—and behave like—super storms you see in satellite weather images. They're related-and that means that simple soap vortices could help meteorologists understand the extreme weather phenomena that threaten millions of lives every year.