Through the microscope

Onion skin adventures

Plan: Take pictures of onion skin.

What actually happened: I set up my Nikon S L-Ke microscope and then made up some buffer so that my onion skin would be happy and not shrivelled. Then I went to clean a slide and cover-slip. When the slide was gleaming I placed some shallot skin (I discovered that I had no onions so I used some shallot skin instead) on the slide, I gave it a nice drop of buffer, popped on the cover-slip and viewed it.

Next, I accidentally moved the condenser instead of the focusing mechanism and because of the set up of the Nikon S L-Ke I then had to set up kohler illumination all over again and check my phase rings were where they should be. That took ages.

Finally I got to look at my slide.

Lovely onion skin, how pretty you are!

But what is this? That’s a strange looking organelle. Oh wait – it’s not an organelle it runs across several cells in a perfect diagonal line. It’s dirt! Bugger.

I removed my glasses, which didn’t help, then I cleaned the condenser and the bottom of the slide. I wiped the objectives with my fancy pants lens cleaning cloth but the dirt remained. The dirt was on the coverslip. Grrrr.

I fetched another slide, which appeared to be gleaming to my naked eye, and I sprayed it with my rather brilliant (if expensive) glass cleaning stuff. I waited and waited for it to dry.  I am still waiting. When its dry I shall peel it off and I will have a perfectly clean slide (which I shall probably drop in a load of cat hair).

First Contact is marvellous, I recommend it. You can get in the UK and USA. It’s a bit on the expensive side but it goes a very long way and I only use it when I’m taking photos. I have used it on old Vickers and Cooke objectives and eyepieces and it works brilliantly. I’m not brave enough to try it on my nikon objectives although the company saysit is perfectly safe to use on all lenses as long as there is no delamination.

I shall post onion cell pictures tomorrow when I have clean slides. No point posting pictures of onion “through a glass, darkly.”—opticlean-1-p.asp



Comments on: "Onion skin adventures" (2)

  1. Interesting post, proving the value of accidents to creativity…


    • Yes! There’s a quote, I can’t remember who said it and I’m paraphrasing, but it is something along the lines of:
      “The most exciting moments in science are not marked by the word “eureka!” but by the words “oh, that’s a bit funny..”


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