40 Everyday Objects That Look Totally Alien Under A Microscope

Not everything is as it seems, especially when you take an object — even an ordinary one — and place it under the lens of a microscope. Vinyl records look like pitted chasms, snowflakes turn into chaotic piles of rubble, and a patch of denim resembles a tangled forest of fibers. See if you can identify these 40 items, some of which are completely unrecognizable!

1. A spider's web

So who has been hard at work doing some spinning? The answer is a spider, and this is a much-magnified image of the silken strands of a cobweb. A scanning electron microscope has created this photograph. It presents a surprisingly chaotic picture given the neat precision of most spiders’ webs when viewed at full size.

2. Inside a yellow dandelion

These elegant curlicues are the flower stigmas of a dandelion, dusted with tiny flecks of pollen. Fun fact: the word dandelion derives from the Old French dent-de-lioun meaning “lion’s tooth.” Think about the spiky yellow flowers that dandelions sport and perhaps you can see a lion’s tooth. Although, come to think of it, perhaps not.

3. A single snowflake

Much as this looks like a pile of broken-up builders’ waste, in fact, you’re looking at a massively magnified snowflake. Of course, a snowflake is nothing more than frozen water, which makes this image all the more astonishing. Next time you’re out when it’s snowing just think of what exactly is falling on you. Fortunately, snowflakes are very light – unlike rubble.

4. Mouse got your tongue?

This might look like a large array of little pink tongues, but that’s not what it is. Actually, it’s a single tongue, one that belongs to a mouse. All the same, if you spot an errant rodent, we very strongly recommend that you don’t try to closely inspect its tongue. A mouse bite can sure pack a punch. Believe it or not, mice are capable of chomping down hard with those tiny teeth.