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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:13 am
Posts: 1

I work as an astronomy communicator. I show lunar craters, planets, nebulas, etc. in a telescope. Now I am required to do some workshops about astrobiology and I'm thinking to buy a microscope. It is not mandatory, but I think it would be much more interesting. I have never worked with a microscope so if you think it is a crazy idea, let me know please!

In the workshop I would like to explain what life is and how it looked at the beginning of the times. There are a lot of concepts to work with it as paspermia, extremophiles organisms, etc. The smallest microbe I want to show is a cyanobacteria. I have been told it is too small to see a cyanobaceria at the scope, but I can still see the colony. Is it right?

I have a lot of work to do and a lot of readings in this forum, but I think to buy the scope is a good start.

My budget is around 500€. I'm thinking in trinocular scope would be better to show the images in a screen (also to attach my reflex, I love photo too).

I saw in this forum AmScope T490B is not a bad choice. Does anyone have another brand recomendation? How much money do I need to spend in extras and accesories like coverslip? I am thinking about the phase-contrast because it as much as a microscope, do you think I would need it? How much it would help in the observation? How much it would help to image in the screen?

Hope you can understand my English! thank you for your time!

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:01 pm
Posts: 2628

The AmScope T490B is a good choice.. I think everyone that has one is happy with it.. Items like blank slides and cover slips come at a trivial cost.. As far as the Phase Contrast, read up on it and see if will fill your need...

The Best,

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:11 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:22 am
Posts: 334
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I can suggest one way you might tie astronomy, biology, and the origins of life together.

Dr. Dave Deamer is a local chemistry/biology professor, who has advised NASA and where to search the universe for life.

Here is a somewhat relevant Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/auth ... -w-deamer/

Short story is that life itself needs some way to create cell membranes, before a million years or so of experiments can start stuffing more complicated stuff inside. Using a microscope, soy lecithin emulsified in slightly heated water, and some sort of contrast method (phase contrast, polarization . . .) you can actually see the equivalent of cell membranes self-assembling under the microscope. Looks cool, sort of like a wiggly caterpillar forming out of nothing. The trick is a fatty molecule that has one end that seeks water (hydrophilac) and another end that avoids it (hydrophobic).

Places where that sort of self-assembly is possible (the right kinds of chemicals, as remotely viewed) are places we might find extraterrestrial life.

With respect to a microscope choice, you might want phase contrast -- or at least be sure there is a convenient place to tuck a polarizer between the objectives and the head (there's often space underneath when you take the head off -- or an optional intermediate attachment).

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:15 am 

Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 12:15 am
Posts: 2258
Cyanobacteria, although narrow, are quite easily seen in a light microscope. Average microscopes, will however show little detail. PeteM's advice to source out phase contrast or polarization is valuable but also upping the imaging capability via the optics of the microscope itself, will also be necessary. Your budget is 500 euros. For that you would be hard pressed to meet your requirements in a new microscope but you could, if you carefully source a used microscope.

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