Something you put in your drinks has a special property that, along with special polarization, causes it to erupt into rainbows. Find out what it is, and what makes it so colorful.
The swirls, loops and arches in this image may look like a new artwork—but they are in fact the results of the first ever all-sky observations of polarized light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way, and they represent the galaxy's magnetic fingerprint.
A simple polarization filter and some cellophane tape makes this sketch of a hot air balloon turn all different colors at all different times. See the weirdness of polarization and color.
These are photographs of the first few milliseconds of nuclear explosions. They lead scientists to several new discoveries as to how nuclear bombs worked. But how do you capture the first millisecond of a nuclear bomb? With several rapatronic cameras, a Kerr cell, and a little physics.
Cuttlefish are among the most remarkable of cephalopods, but nobody expected the creatures to have this particular trick up their sleeve. Cuttlefish can actually see information in the angle of intense polarized light that we can barely comprehend.
Vikings did a lot of navigating in their line of work. Those who didn't know how to use the sun to get exactly where they wanted to go would end up razing only sandcastles, pillaging only bird's nests, and setting fire only to their own beards. So when cloudy, foggy, gray days caused these intrepid seamen to tear the…