This picture is from a class (Experiments in Modern and Applied Physics) that I took at Rutgers back in my junior year.
It’s not a spaceship or alien technology; it’s a special mercury vapor triode I was using to recreate the famous Franck-Hertz experiment.
You can enjoy it as it is, or read further for an explanation of the physics behind the picture.
My current blog header is a crop from this photo, which was taken after a snowstorm at Rutgers in early February 2011. I wanted to get pictures of the snowy campus, but by the time I got out of class, everything had begun to melt. I walked by a wooden handrail and found this: some very thin rippled/bubbly ice floating on a slightly less thin layer of melted water. (The dark lines are the spaces between painted wooden boards.) There are a few spots where you can see air bubbles trapped between the ice and the water below it. I don’t know what physical processes produced this interesting texture, but I sure would love to. Does anyone have some insight?