Modern imaging

Modern imaging technology has widened our knowledge and appreciation of the world more than we could have ever imagined.

Scientists can now explore far beyond the reaches of the human eye, without damaging the specimens they study. Microscopes and X-ray technology enable us to see down to the molecular if not atomic level, and satellites give us perspectives of our planet from thousands of miles above the ground.

Not only can we examine the natural world over a wide range of magnifications, we can also model it in 3-dimensions, and even four, if you add time as well.

Explore some examples below of what modern imaging techniques can reveal.

Hairy anglerfish specimen in the Natural History Museum collection
Anglerfish stomach video

Watch the video of a micro-CT scan of an anglerfish's expanded stomach, revealing its last meal.

Hammerhead shark micro-CT image
Hammerhead shark micro-CT

Why do sharks have such a good sense of smell? Investigate how a team of scientists used the Museum’s CT scanner to find out.

Scanning electron microscope image of bumblebee leg
What’s under the lens?

Take a much closer look at 12 familiar species as seen through the Museum’s state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope.

X-ray images of ostracods
Prehistoric sex-life revealed by X-rays

Journey back in time to see images of 100-million-year-old microscopic animals called ostracods, made using revolutionary X-ray technology at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

Satellite image of a hurricane
Methods for examining specimens

Zoom in to see images of the natural world ranging from those taken 1,000s of kilometres away to those magnified by more than 100,000 times.

Artificially-coloured scanning electron microscope image of a butterfly wing
Imaging and tomography

Find out about the Museum’s state-of-the-art imaging technologies, including electron and confocal microscopes and the micro- and nano-CT scanners.