The underside of a Melitaea didyma butterfly. Also known as the spotted fritillary or the red-band fritillary, the species is in the family Nymphalidae. It is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan reaching 35–50 mm (1.4–2.0 in). The overside of the wings is a bright orange-brown with dark brown markings arranged in rows, which are quite variable in quantity and size. Sometimes the colour of the females is a duller orange, shaded with grey-green. The underside of the wings is chequered pale yellow and pale orange. It is found in southern and central Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and Siberia.Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp
The Portrait of Doña Isabel de Porcel is an oil-on-canvas painting by Spanish painter Francisco Goya, produced around 1805. The portrait depicts Isabel Lobo Velasco de Porcel, who was born at Ronda around 1780 and was the second wife of Antonio Porcel. Isabel's husband was 25 years older than she; they met when she was 20 years old. Antonio Porcel was a liberal and an associate of Manuel Godoy, Prince of Peace, who was a friend of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, who in turn brought him in contact with Goya, who lived nearby; the painting is said to have been a gift from the artist in return for hospitality. The half-length portrait depicts a young woman dressed in typical Spanish attire, a white shirt and a black mantilla. In spite of her "maja" attire, the richness of the textiles and her ladylike appearance give the picture an aristocratic elegance; at this time, wealthy Spanish "people of fashion" often wore the styles of lower class urban dandies and their female equivalents, as seen in Goya's famous clothed version of La maja. The painting is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London.Painting credit: Francisco Goya
The Trinity and Mystic Pietà is an oil-on-oak painting by German artist Hans Baldung, produced in 1512. The painting shows God the Father supporting his crucified son, Jesus, a motif not often found in paintings from outside the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. The Holy Spirit is depicted above them, represented by a dove; they are joined by the weeping figures of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Apostle. Beneath the holy figures are a series of smaller individuals, who are assumed by art historians to be the family who commissioned the painting; this is likely to be the Bettschold and Rothschild families, given the coats of arms present in the lower corners. During the Middle Ages, donors were often depicted much smaller than the holy figures, in order to emphasise the difference between them. The painting is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London.Painting credit: Hans Baldung
This picture is a self-portrait of Curiosity on Mars at the "Big Sky" drilling site, where it collected a rock sample at the foothills of Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) in October 2015. The photograph combines dozens of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm; the arm itself is not included, although its shadow is visible on the ground. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic's component images.Photograph credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS
The Cuban green woodpecker (Xiphidiopicus percussus) is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It is the only species within the genus Xiphidiopicus and is endemic to Cuba. A distinctive, relatively small woodpecker of the general size and shape of a sapsucker, the Cuban green woodpecker occasionally appears crested, with bright olive-green overparts and yellow underparts. The nape and upper breast are bright red, with some black bases to feathers usually visible, with a black chin and throat; the crown is red in males and black with white stripes in females. Females are significantly smaller than the male and generally shorter-billed. Juveniles are generally duller in plumage, showing more barring and streaking below. It typically measures 21 to 25 cm (8.3 to 9.8 in) in length and weighs 48 to 97 g (1.7 to 3.4 oz). This picture shows a female X. p. percussus individual.Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp
Béatrice et Bénédict is an opéra comique in two acts by French composer Hector Berlioz. Berlioz wrote the French libretto himself, based closely on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. He had been interested in setting Shakespeare's comedy since his return from Italy in 1833, but only composed the score of the opera following the completion of Les Troyens in 1858. It was first performed at the opening of the Theater Baden-Baden on 9 August 1862. Berlioz conducted the first two performances of a German version in Weimar in 1863, where, as he wrote in his memoirs, he was "overwhelmed by all sorts of kind attention".
This picture is the title page of the first edition vocal score of Béatrice et Bénédict, published in 1863, with an illustration by French illustrator Antoine Barbizet.Illustration credit: Antoine Barbizet; restored by Adam Cuerden
Skokloster Castle is a Swedish Baroque castle built between 1654 and 1676 by the wealthy military commander Carl Gustaf Wrangel, located on a peninsula of Mälaren, a lake between Stockholm and Uppsala. It was designed mainly by Caspar Vogel; other architects involved included Jean de la Vallée and Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. The castle is a monument to the Swedish Age of Greatness, a period in the middle of the 17th century when Sweden expanded to become one of the major powers in Europe. Wrangel's death in 1676 meant that the castle was never truly completed. The castle became a state museum in the 1970s and displays collections of paintings, furniture, textiles and tableware, as well as books and weapons.Photograph credit: Marcin Szala
The Elder Sister is an oil-on-canvas painting by French academic artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau, produced in 1869. The painting shows a girl (the "elder sister") sitting on a rock and holding a sleeping baby on her lap, with a quiet rural landscape behind them. For this scene, Bouguereau's daughter Henriette and son Paul served as models. Bouguereau used great care and attention in drawing the children's features and the positioning of their bodies, giving them an idyllic look. The girl's eyes look directly at the viewer and both children are shown with immaculate clothing. The painting is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.Painting credit: William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Lyriothemis acigastra is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae, found in India. Until 2013, it was thought to be restricted to the northeastern states of Assam and West Bengal, but it has now also been recorded in the southern state of Kerala. It is a small dragonfly with brown-capped greenish-yellow eyes and a blackish-brown thorax marked with yellow. Laterally, there are three stripes. Its wings are transparent, palely tinted with yellow at the base. The female is similar to the male, but the abdomen is cylindrical instead of tapered from base to end and reddish yellow instead of blood red. This picture shows a male L. acigastra individual.Photograph credit: Jeevan Jose
This picture shows a wooden door panel with a carving of a gorgoneion, intended to guard the house from unwanted guests. It is located at the Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil in Paris and was created around 1660 by French sculptor Thomas Regnaudin.Photograph credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen
Diospyros kaki, also known as the persimmon or the Oriental persimmon, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Diospyros. The persimmon is a sweet, slightly tangy fruit with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. Although its first botanical description was not published until 1780, D. kaki is among the oldest cultivated plants, having been in use in China for more than 2000 years. In some rural Chinese communities, the fruit is seen as having a great mystical power that can be harnessed to cure headaches, back pains and foot ache. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation extended first to other parts of East Asia, including Japan, where it is very popular. It was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 19th century and later to Brazil in the 1890s.Photograph credit: Frank Schulenburg
This picture, taken in 1965, shows Kranz at his console in the Mission Operations Control Room, Mission Control Center, Houston, during a simulation to prepare for the Gemini 4 mission.Photograph credit: NASA; restored by Adam Cuerden
Gabrielle Cot is an oil-on-canvas painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, produced in 1890. The eponymous subject is the daughter of the French painter Pierre Auguste Cot, who was Bouguereau's most notable pupil. He started the work as a study for another painting but decided to develop it into a full work after becoming enthralled by Gabrielle Cot's charm and beauty. It was the only non-commissioned painting he ever painted. Bouguereau gifted the painting to Gabrielle Cot's grandmother, Madame Duret, and it has been privately held since then. It was exhibited to the public in Paris in 1891 and in New York in 1999.Painting credit: William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The longnose batfish (Ogcocephalus corniger) is a species of batfish found at depths between 29 and 230 m (95 and 755 ft) in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas. Like other members of the family Ogcocephalidae, it has a flat triangular body and coloring varying from yellowish to purple with pale, round spots and lips of orange-red.Photograph credit: Betty Wills
Modern Rome is a name given to each of three almost identical oil-on-canvas paintings by Italian artist Giovanni Paolo Panini, originally produced as pendant paintings to Ancient Rome for his patron, the comte de Stainville, who was the French ambassador to Rome from 1753 to 1757. The first two versions of the painting were created for Stainville in 1757, while the third was painted a couple of years later for Claude-François de Montboissier de Canillac de Beaufort.
The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, was a total solar eclipse visible within a band that spanned the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. As a partial solar eclipse, it was visible on land from Nunavut in northern Canada to as far south as northern South America. In Africa and northwestern Europe, it was partially visible in the late evening. In Asia, it was visible only at the eastern extremity, the Chukchi Peninsula. Prior to this event, no solar eclipse had been visible across the entire contiguous United States since June 8, 1918; not since the February 1979 eclipse had a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States. The path of totality, up to about 70 miles (110 km) wide, touched 14 states, while the rest of the U.S. experienced a partial eclipse.
Napoleon Crossing the Alps is the title given to the five versions of an oil-on-canvas equestrian portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, painted by French artist Jacques-Louis David between 1801 and 1805. Initially commissioned by the King of Spain, Charles IV, the composition shows a strongly idealized view of the real crossing that Napoleon and his army made across the Alps in May 1800, through the Great St Bernard Pass in Switzerland. Having taken power in France during the Coup of 18 Brumaire in November 1799, Napoleon was determined to return to Italy to reinforce the French troops in the country and retake the territory seized by the Austrians in the preceding years. The Austrian forces, under Michael von Melas, were laying siege to Masséna's troops in Genoa; Napoleon hoped to gain the element of surprise by taking the trans-Alpine route. By the time his troops arrived, Genoa had fallen, but he pushed ahead, hoping to engage the Austrians before they could regroup. The Reserve Army fought a battle at Montebello on June before eventually securing a decisive victory at the Battle of Marengo.