From gaseous jets shooting out the center of supermassive black holes to fluorescent tags elucidating the intricacies of the brain, science has a close relationship with light. As a multi-purpose tool, light can reveal hidden functions, magnify areas of interest, provide a means of measurement and trigger activity.

Often the union of light and science also gives us beautiful images, which, to the untrained eye, can appear strange, magical – and downright mysterious. Below are glowing works of art that each represent different areas of research from Stanford University.

But what exactly are we looking at?