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Cosmic Art Glows With Fluorescent Bacteria

At an upcoming art exhibit, glowing images of heavenly objects — stars, galaxies, nebulae and remnants of supernovae — will have unusual frames: the clear rims of Petri dishes, the sort typically used to grow microbes.

There's no coincidence here. The images of these astronomical structures have been created from the bacterium E. coli, a more typical resident of the cell culture dishes.

The artist behind these new images, Zachary Copfer, a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, knew he wanted to create something that reflected the concept of "star stuff." Introduced by writer and astronomist Carl Sagan, "star stuff" refers to the concept that living things, including humans, are made up of atoms created in stars.

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