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What Do You Look At With Your Microscope?

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#1 Curt B

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:26 PM

I have been thinking about getting a microscope. I had several toy ones as a child, and had lots of enjoyment from them. Besides looking at the usual prepared slides, my favorite thing to observe was Protozoa, Ameobia, etc., using the dried grass in water. I am sure there are many other objects to observe, so what do you all observe?

#2 Mentor

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:23 AM

Hi Curt,

I'm with you, and looking forward to answers to this as well. I just picked up a new compound microscope and hope to "do some science" with my 4 year old son (his words). I used to enjoy culturing protozoa as a young lad, and will definitely give that a go, along with the requisite onion skin and the like. Beyond that, not sure. I am a chemist by training, so I am looking forward to experimenting with different stains.

#3 Mentor

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:02 PM

Just to add, there seems to be a real dearth of microscopy resources online, certainly when comapred to astronomy. There is a pretty active Yahoo group, but not much else that I can find beyond that.

#4 EJN

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:50 PM

Just to add, there seems to be a real dearth of microscopy resources online, certainly when comapred to astronomy. There is a pretty active Yahoo group, but not much else that I can find beyond that.


http://www.microscop...g/indexmag.html

http://www.microbehunter.com/

#5 Curt B

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

Thank you for the links EJN! Lots of information on microbehunter.com. I was very surprised that it does not recommend making a hay infusion, as it is listed as a Biohazard Category 2! I made lots of hay infusions as a kid. Any other ways to get live microscopic organisms to look at, besides pond water?

#6 EJN

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:28 PM

I was very surprised that it does not recommend making a hay infusion, as it is listed as a Biohazard Category 2! I made lots of hay infusions as a kid.

So did I. I think that is going overboard. Use common sense, clean all glassware
with bleach or alcohol when you are done. I've also cultured bacteria on nutrient
agar in Petri dishes; I'm still alive.

#7 azure1961p

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:42 PM

There's also this and the quality is exquisite.

http://www.photomacr...&start=0&pos...
Pete

#8 Mentor

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for the links. I had happened upon them before, but did not dig well enough to discover all that they had to offer.

#9 Curt B

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:42 PM

Well, I just ordered an Omax microscope that comes with slides, cover slips, a dark field condenser and a built in digital camera. I am looking forward to some imaging. I realize it is probably not a premium system, but should still be fun on those cloudy nights!

#10 pftarch

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

I've got an Amscope stereo scope (7 to 180x) and I'm having a blast with it. Most of my fun is at low power and top lit, but dead bugs are WILD at low power. Seeing a spiders eyes and an ant's mouth up close is really cool. Look at paper money, coins, and the lit screen of your cell phone. Hardly scientific research, but great fun!

#11 Mentor

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:10 AM

I just recently took possession of an Amscope T530A compound microscope. I'll post some pics and my initial impressions shortly....

#12 Curt B

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:34 PM

I am anxious to see pictures of your microscope Ian. I will post some of mine when I get it. If it has not been done yet, maybe a thread can be started of "Post A Picture Of Your Microscope", just like the ones under the Mounts, Refractors, Reflectors & Cats sections.

#13 Mentor

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:12 PM

I think there is such a thread in here, a few pages down.

I was looking at the Omax scopes as well. I probably should have gone with one, as I got dinged for >$100 in duties on the Amscope. The Omax scopes ship from within Canada.

That said, I have been VERY impressed with the customer service at Amscope. They of their own initiative recommended that I consider a different shipping method that the one I selected to avoid excessive brokerage fees. When my scope arrived I noted that the 4X objective had a tiny clamshell fracture at the edge of one lens, and that the 16x eyepieces were slightly out of round and did not fit in the eyetubes. I was in the process of boxing them up to return them and asked Amscope for a return authorization number. Instead, they shipped replacements no questions asked. They have responded in detail within 24 hours to all of my e-mails. Absolutely awesome customer service.

Pics to come soon....

#14 Curt B

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:18 PM

Sorry to hear about the damages, but glad to hear about the outstanding service!

#15 dyslexic nam

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:30 AM

Somewhat similar to pftarch, I have a low power Acuter stereo microscope (20x, 40x) that is excellent at showing small stuff/critters in amazing detail. I know there are much fancier set-ups out there, but showing my kids a stonefly larva or a spider's head (found him, didn't kill him) at high mag is pretty amazing. Another 'treasure' from a recent swamp walk was a nymph (damsel fly I think, from my fly-tying days) that was transluscent to the point that you could easilly see the optic nerve going from his eye to his central nervous system. For less organic views, I also found some beach 'rocks' that shimmered in the light - throw them under the scope and it turns out they are an aggregation if very cool looking crystal structures.

Not really doing any hard science with my scope, but hopefully inspiring some interest in my kids. Pretty amazing views to be seen through a relatively inexpensive scope (here)

Cheers

#16 salishnw

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 04:17 PM

Try searching ebay for prepared microscope slides. Sometimes some pretty amazing slide collections come up for auction and sell for really cheap.

#17 City Kid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:21 AM

I've got an Amscope stereo scope (7 to 180x) and I'm having a blast with it. Most of my fun is at low power and top lit, but dead bugs are WILD at low power. Seeing a spiders eyes and an ant's mouth up close is really cool. Look at paper money, coins, and the lit screen of your cell phone. Hardly scientific research, but great fun!

I have an Amscope stereo microscope and I'm with you. Dead bugs are awesome. Live ones are even better but it's hard to get them to stop moving so you can observe them.

#18 star drop

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 11:21 AM

I look at rocks and metal crystals.

#19 rdandrea

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 12:39 PM

Rocks

#20 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:40 PM

Scoop up some of the gunk from the rain gutters on your house, and look for micro-meteorites. It's full of them.

http://io9.com/59849...n-your-backyard

#21 JonNPR

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:28 PM

Rotifers! Hydra, Paramecium, Vulpecula, amoeba...creatures hiding in the duckweed on ponds. It's summer and time for all the animicules!! And time to break out the ancient childhood tome, "Hunting With The Microscope".

Jon

#22 FAB

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:01 PM

I've an old metal bird bath, purchased about twenty years ago, under a tree in my yard. When I get the urge I put a couple of gallons of water in it with a garden hose. Then wait at least a week. What develops in the water combined with whatever falls from the tree gives lots of material for my microscopes. Just one more thing . . . never clean the bird bath. FAB

#23 semiosteve

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:05 PM

I can't believe someone else remembers "Hunting with a Microscope" - I have an old copy nearby.

I loved looking at paramecium, rotifers, vulpecula...always hoping to find Hydra and Amoeba (somehow always MIA in my hunts).

But I have to admit, the reason I stopped using the microscope is when I'd be looking at all these fascinating small critters some huge larvae type monstrosity would suddenly cross the field and scare the X?!?C? out of me just like the scenes in the original Alien movie...LOL

#24 A6Q6

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 12:43 PM

"scare the X?!?C? out of me just like the scenes in the original Alien movie...LOL" :lol:

#25 aatt

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:56 AM

Mud is fun if diluted and is has green stuff, pond water is the classic, but let your sample evolve over time and watch the turnover in community structure. Leaf peels, grass, a slice of beef or chicken, potatoes stained with iodine, moss (might even spot a "water bear" aka Tardigrade in there), mushrooms (thin slice then smear it a bit) bread molds, lichens, stamen and other flower parts. With thick stuff-as thin as you can slice-it is often not thin enough so go for the jagged edge to see through the slice.Cheek cells from a toothpick are good, you need methylene blue or that plaque indicator (plaque is also fun) for kids and their toothbrush will stain the cheek cells.The green layer on tree trunks or lawn furniture (Protococcus probably). Pond scum (cyno bacteria) Just a few ideas. Remember Schleiden and Schwann must have looked at everything before they decided that all plant and animals are made up of cells!






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