Nikon Small World 2012 Photomicrography Competition Winners Announced (PHOTOS)

With all the awe-inspiring space images coming out these days, we sometimes need a reminder that science on a small scale can look just as great. Nikon's Small World photography contest is just such a reminder, and this year's winners are as mind-blowing as any nebula or solar explosion.

The winning images range from Dorit Hockman's adorable bat embryos and Dr. Michael John Bridge's trippy fruit fly eye to Charles Krebs' painful-looking stinging nettle. Too small to make out with the naked eye, the objects featured in these images come alive under massive magnifications. Some images are magnified up to 500x, but even a tenfold magnification can reveal a whole new world. Check the winners out in the slideshow below.

The contest has been running since 1978, and an archive of previous winners can be found here. Want to enter for next year's competition? Send in your entries by April 30, 2013.

Nikon Small World 2012 Winners