A Universe Born

This image was fun to create, and as usual involves some interesting science. It reminds me of a tiny universe, just born, in the center of a flower. View large!

The droplet in the center, and the tiny specs of light around the image are not the work of elaborate Photoshop techniques or composites. These are created by invisible ink, and illuminated with a special flash that only emits ultraviolet light. When the light hits the ink it fluoresces and glows, but the UV light itself cannot be seen until it interacts with the droplets. The invisible ink then effectively becomes the light source in the image, making magic.

The light from the flash was positioned on top of the flower, very close and slightly behind the main droplet in the center. This allowed it to glow brightly, but also made the front of the droplet to fluoresce less (since the effect is created through reflectance, and the light source is positioned slightly back). This adds extra magic, because this part of the droplet is not completely over-exposed, and turns into an orb of stars when the surrounding tiny droplets reflect off the surface, creating a universe.

The center droplet was put in place with a hypodermic needle, and the surrounding droplets were sprayed from a mist bottle. Based on this experience, I don’t recommend you fill a spray bottle with invisible ink and use it indoors!

click image for larger version