A ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its apogee: the part of its orbit farthest away from the Earth. Because the moon is so far away, it seems smaller than normal to the human eye. The result is that the moon doesn’t entirely block out our view of the sun, but leaves an “annulus,” or ring of sunlight glowing around it. Hence the term “annular” eclipse rather than a “total” eclipse.
In collaboration with NIH 3D Print and the EyeWire lab at MIT, I’ve made a 3D printed neuron! This particular neuron is a ganglion cell, which brings visual information from the retina to the brain. Its shape was revealed by gamers playing EyeWire, which uses crowdsourcing to create 3D models from serial electron microscope images. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up to play EyeWire here. If you want to try printing this cell, the model is available at the NIH 3D print database.