Wikipedia:Picture of the day/March 2020

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These featured pictures, as scheduled below, have been chosen to appear as the picture of the day (POTD) on the English Wikipedia's Main Page. Individual sections for each day on this page can be linked to with the day number as the anchor name (e.g. [[Wikipedia:Picture of the day/March 2020#1]] for March 1).

You can add an automatically updating POTD template to your user page using {{Pic of the day}} (version with blurb) or {{POTD}} (version without blurb). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.Purge server cache


March 1

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located mostly in Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular landmarks. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. The park is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion. In 1978, Yellowstone was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

This picture is a stylized panoramic map of Yellowstone National Park as viewed from the northeast, created in 1991 by Austrian painter and cartographer Heinrich C. Berann for the National Park Service. Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone are in the center, while Old Faithful is visible on the right, next to a brown building representing the Old Faithful Inn. Jackson Lake and the peaks of the Teton Range are depicted in the background.

Map credit: Heinrich C. Berann


March 2

Portrait of Chaliapin

The Portrait of Chaliapin is an oil-on-canvas painting by Boris Kustodiev, produced in 1921. Feodor Chaliapin was a Russian opera singer; possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses. He is depicted here wearing an expensive fur coat, which had come from a Soviet warehouse containing items confiscated from rich people during the Russian Revolution, and which he had received in lieu of payment for a performance. The background shows festivities at the traditional folk holiday of Maslenitsa. Dressed in a smart suit and holding a cane, Chaliapin is portrayed as having risen above his contemporaries. His favourite dog is at his feet and, at the bottom left, his two daughters stroll on the festive square in front of a poster promoting his concert. This copy of the painting is in the collection of the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Painting credit: Boris Kustodiev


March 3

Anna Petersen

This picture is an oil-on-canvas painting by Danish artist Anna Petersen (1845–1910), entitled Breton Girl Looking After Plants in the Hothouse, painted in 1884. She was one of the few Danish female artists of that period, as it was difficult for women to gain access to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; it would have been inappropriate for them to paint male nudes, and socially acceptable subjects were limited, with still life, particularly flowers, seen as being most appropriate.

In this work, some inner thoughts are distracting the girl from the task in hand, and the overturned pot among the plants in the hothouse may represent a motif of death. The painting is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Painting credit: Anna Petersen


March 4

Argiope pulchella

Argiope pulchella is a species of orb-weaving spider belonging to the family Araneidae, native to India and south-eastern Asia. This picture, taken in the Indian state of Kerala, shows a female A. pulchella spider in the middle of its web, with a male visible above it on the right. The male is "shuddering", vibrating the web as part of a courtship ritual, with males that shudder at high rates for long periods being preferred by the female to those with lesser skills; such activity may also reduce the likelihood that the male will be cannibalised by the female after mating. A zig-zag stabilimentum, a form of web decoration whose function is not precisely known, can be seen at the bottom right of the photograph.

Photograph credit: Jeevan Jose


March 5

Louis, Grand Dauphin

Louis, Grand Dauphin (1661–1711), was the eldest son and heir of King Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain. As the heir apparent to the French throne, he was styled Dauphin. He became known as le Grand Dauphin after the birth of his own son, le Petit Dauphin. Louis XIV had a low opinion of his son, describing him as "indolent, fatuous, and dull". As Louis died before his father, he never became king, but his grandson acceded to the throne as Louis XV in 1715.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Louis was produced in 1688 by the workshop of Hyacinthe Rigaud, who was one of the most important French portrait painters of the time. Rigaud's instinct for impressive poses and grand presentations precisely suited the tastes of the royal personages, ambassadors, clerics, courtiers, and financiers who sat for him. In this painting, Louis is portrayed in armour, holding a ceremonial baton in his right hand, with the Siege of Philippsburg depicted in the background. The work is now on display in the Palace of Versailles.

Painting credit: Workshop of Hyacinthe Rigaud


March 6

Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral, formally the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is a basilica in Florence, Italy. It was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to a design of Arnolfo di Cambio, and was structurally completed by 1436, with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the cathedral is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink, bordered by white, and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival facade by Emilio De Fabris.

This picture shows the curved interior of the dome; the surface was originally whitewashed, but Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decided to have it painted with a representation of the Last Judgment. This enormous work, comprising 3,600 m2 (39,000 sq ft) of painted surface, was started in 1568 by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, and not completed until 1579. The upper portion, near the roof lantern, represents the Twenty-Four Elders of the Book of Revelation, and was finished by Vasari before his death in 1574. Zuccari and his collaborators finished the other portions – from top to bottom, choirs of angels; Christ, Mary and saints; virtues, gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Beatitudes; and capital sins and Hell. These frescoes are considered Zuccari's greatest work, but the quality of the artwork is uneven because of the input of different artists and their varying techniques.

Photograph credit: Livioandronico2013


March 7

Black-necked stilt

The black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a species of shorebird in the family Recurvirostridae, inhabiting wetlands and coastlines in North, Central and South America. Adults average about 36 cm (14 in) in length, with black-and-white plumage and a thin, straight, black bill. The legs are long and pink, and there is a white spot above the eye that distinguishes the species from the white-backed stilt.

Seen here near Corte Madera, California, the black-necked stilt forages by probing and gleaning on mudflats, grassy marshes and lakesides, as well as in shallow waters near the shore; the diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae, crustaceans, other arthropods, mollusks, tadpoles and small fish. The species nests in colonies that may have several dozen pairs spread out loosely, with the birds defending an extensive perimeter around groups of nests, patrolling in cooperation with their neighbors.

Photograph credit: Frank Schulenburg


March 8

Portrait of Comtesse d'Haussonville

The Portrait of Comtesse d'Haussonville is an 1845 oil-on-canvas painting by French Neoclassical artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Although more interested in depicting historical scenes, Ingres received few commissions for them, and found that he could better support his family if he painted portraits instead. By 1845, he was at the height of his fame as a portrait painter, and accepted a commission to paint Louise de Broglie, Countess d'Haussonville. She was 27 at the time; Ingres had sketched her with black chalk as a preparatory drawing two or three years earlier, and begun an oil-on-canvas painting, but that was abandoned when she became pregnant with her third child and was thus unable to pose further. Ingres's new portrait differs from the original in showing her facing in the opposite direction and introducing her reflection in a mirror. The countess found the long and slow sittings wearisome, at one stage complaining that "for the last nine days Ingres has been painting on one of the hands". The painting is now part of the Frick Collection in New York City.

Painting credit: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres


March 9

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space; his capsule, Vostok 1, completed a single orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour. In 1967, he served as a member of the backup crew for the ill-fated Soyuz 1 mission, after which the Russian authorities, fearing for the safety of such an iconic figure, banned him from further spaceflights. However, he was killed the following year, when the MiG-15 training jet that he was piloting with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin crashed near the town of Kirzhach.

This photograph of Gagarin, dated July 1961, was taken at a press conference during a visit to Finland approximately three months after his spaceflight.

Photograph credit: Arto Jousi; restored by Adam Cuerden


March 10

Chosen at random from a selection of four; all alternatives shown below

St Augustine's, Kilburn

St Augustine's is a Church of England church in Kilburn, a northern suburb of London. The red-brick structure was erected in the 1870s, with vaulted ceilings and extensive interior stone sculpturing in a style reminiscent of 13th-century Gothic architecture. While the church was consecrated in 1880, its tower and spire were not constructed until 1897–98. The nave is 9 m (30 ft) wide and is decorated with religious art in various forms depicting major biblical stories. The stained-glass windows include a large rose window depicting the Creation, and others showing angels and saints, while the chancel and sanctuary are surrounded by densely carved sculptural forms depicting the Passion, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and other religious iconography. St Augustine's is a Grade I listed building.

This photograph shows the church's nave, looking eastward from the entrance towards the sanctuary, which is separated by the rood screen visible in the centre.

Other interior views of St Augustine's: Rood screen · Nave, looking westward · Sanctuary

Photograph credit: David Iliff

St Augustine's, Kilburn

St Augustine's is a Church of England church in Kilburn, a northern suburb of London. The red-brick structure was erected in the 1870s, with vaulted ceilings and extensive interior stone sculpturing in a style reminiscent of 13th-century Gothic architecture. While the church was consecrated in 1880, its tower and spire were not constructed until 1897–98. The nave is 9 m (30 ft) wide and is decorated with religious art in various forms depicting major biblical stories. The stained-glass windows include a large rose window depicting the Creation, and others showing angels and saints, while the chancel and sanctuary are surrounded by densely carved sculptural forms depicting the Passion, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and other religious iconography. St Augustine's is a Grade I listed building.

This photograph shows the church's rood screen, looking eastward towards the sanctuary behind it. The pulpit is visible on the left.

Other interior views of St Augustine's: Nave, looking eastward · Nave, looking westward · Sanctuary

Photograph credit: David Iliff

St Augustine's, Kilburn

St Augustine's is a Church of England church in Kilburn, a northern suburb of London. The red-brick structure was erected in the 1870s, with vaulted ceilings and extensive interior stone sculpturing in a style reminiscent of 13th-century Gothic architecture. While the church was consecrated in 1880, its tower and spire were not constructed until 1897–98. The nave is 9 m (30 ft) wide and is decorated with religious art in various forms depicting major biblical stories. The stained-glass windows include a large rose window depicting the Creation, and others showing angels and saints, while the chancel and sanctuary are surrounded by densely carved sculptural forms depicting the Passion, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and other religious iconography. St Augustine's is a Grade I listed building.

This photograph shows the church's nave, looking westward towards the entrance. The rose window is visible in the centre.

Other interior views of St Augustine's: Nave, looking eastward · Rood screen · Sanctuary

Photograph credit: David Iliff

St Augustine's, Kilburn

St Augustine's is a Church of England church in Kilburn, a northern suburb of London. The red-brick structure was erected in the 1870s, with vaulted ceilings and extensive interior stone sculpturing in a style reminiscent of 13th-century Gothic architecture. While the church was consecrated in 1880, its tower and spire were not constructed until 1897–98. The nave is 9 m (30 ft) wide and is decorated with religious art in various forms depicting major biblical stories. The stained-glass windows include a large rose window depicting the Creation, and others showing angels and saints, while the chancel and sanctuary are surrounded by densely carved sculptural forms depicting the Passion, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and other religious iconography. St Augustine's is a Grade I listed building.

This photograph shows the church's sanctuary, looking eastward. The choir is visible in the foreground, while the altar, decorated with a green antependium, is in the background.

Other interior views of St Augustine's: Nave, looking eastward · Rood screen · Nave, looking westward

Photograph credit: David Iliff


March 11

Royal Falkland Islands Police

The Royal Falkland Islands Police is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the Falkland Islands. This picture shows the force's headquarters, located in Stanley on the island of East Falkland. First constructed in 1873, the building was built of stone by a detachment of Royal Marines that were stationed in the colony at that time, and has had several wooden extensions added over the years. It was severely damaged by a British missile strike during the Falklands War in 1982. The building was completely refurbished in 2008, with the prison building on the left opened the following year by the Princess Royal.

Photograph credit: Andrew Shiva


March 12

Portrait of Count Stanislas Potocki

The Portrait of Count Stanislas Potocki is an oil-on-canvas equestrian portrait of Polish patron, politician and writer Stanisław Kostka Potocki by French painter Jacques-Louis David. It was painted in Rome in 1781, when the artist and the subject met during David's stay at the Villa Medici after winning the first prize in painting at the 1774 Prix de Rome. Potocki displayed the work at Wilanów Palace, his residence near Warsaw. It later became the property of the Branicki family, and was looted by German forces during World War II. After the war, it passed into Soviet hands, before being repatriated to Poland in 1956. The painting is now part of the collection of the Museum of King John III's Palace at Wilanów.

Painting credit: Jacques-Louis David


March 13

Madagascan magpie-robin

The Madagascan magpie-robin (Copsychus albospecularis) is a species of chat in the family Muscicapidae, the Old World flycatchers. Endemic to Madagascar and about 18 cm (7 in) long, the male has mostly black-and-white plumage, whereas the female has a white wing patch, but more subdued greyish-brown overparts with pinkish-buff underparts. The species's diet includes insects, such as cockroaches, beetles, bugs and grasshoppers, as well as spiders, earthworms, small lizards, amphibians, and occasionally fruit. The female tends to feed on the ground, while the male forages higher up in the vegetation.

This picture shows a female Madagascan magpie-robin of the subspecies C. a. pica, photographed in Montagne d'Ambre National Park, located in the far north of Madagascar.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp


March 14

Les Troyens

Les Troyens is a French grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz, with a libretto written by the composer himself based on Virgil's Aeneid. The score was composed between 1856 and 1858, but Berlioz did not live long enough to see the work performed in its entirety. However, the last three acts, substantially abridged, were performed during his lifetime under the title Les Troyens à Carthage by Léon Carvalho's company, the Théâtre Lyrique, in Paris in 1863. For this performance, Berlioz added an orchestral introduction and a prologue. He was not happy with the result, noting bitterly that he had agreed to let Carvalho do it "despite the manifest impossibility of his doing it properly. He had just obtained an annual subsidy of a hundred thousand francs from the government. Nonetheless the enterprise was beyond him. His theater was not large enough, his singers were not good enough, his chorus and orchestra were small and weak."

This picture shows the cover of the "second version, second issue" of the vocal score for Les Troyens à Carthage, published in 1863.

Illustration credit: Antoine Barbizet; restored by Adam Cuerden


March 15

Jaroslava Muchová

Jaroslava Muchová (15 March 1909 – 9 November 1986) was a Czech painter, the daughter of painter Alphonse Mucha and the sister of writer and translator Jiří Mucha. Her father created this pencil drawing of her, on beige paper highlighted with white paint, probably around 1920. She sat for him on numerous occasions, and may have been bored by the experience, judging by the finger-tapping in this sketch. She studied ballet as a child, but eventually followed in the footsteps of her father, assisting him in his project of twenty monumental canvases known as The Slav Epic, depicting the history of all the Slavic peoples of the world. After World War II, she was instrumental in restoring these canvases, which had been wrapped and hidden away to prevent them being seized by the Nazis.

Drawing credit: Alphonse Mucha


March 16

James Madison

James Madison (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and philosopher who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is widely considered to be one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States, and historians have generally ranked him as an above-average president.

This picture is a line engraving of Madison, produced around 1902 by the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) as part of a BEP presentation album of the first 26 presidents, which was reportedly given to Treasury Secretary Lyman J. Gage.

Engraving credit: Bureau of Engraving and Printing; restored by Andrew Shiva


March 17

Cliff flycatcher

The cliff flycatcher (Hirundinea ferruginea) is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae, the tyrant flycatchers. Native to South America, it is found among mountain crags, cliffs and gorges. It is also found, particularly in the south of its range, around buildings in cities, where window sills and facades provide a form of artificial cliff. About 18.5 cm (7.3 in) in length, its rufous colouring and behaviour are distinctive. It has a wide beak and long pointed wings, resembling those of a swallow. The overparts are dusky brown, with a distinctive rufous rump and tail base. The tips of the wing feathers are dark, but the remaining parts are cinnamon-rufous, and are exposed in flight. The underparts are pale cinnamon-rufous, with some grey speckling on the throat.

This picture shows a cliff flycatcher photographed in the municipality of Pindamonhangaba, in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.

Photograph credit: Claudney Neves


March 18

Alexei Leonov

Alexei Leonov (1934–2019) was a Soviet cosmonaut, Air Force major general, writer, and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. At the end of the spacewalk, his spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point that he had great difficulty re-entering the airlock, forcing him to open a valve to deflate his suit. His second trip into space took place ten years later, when he was commander of Soyuz 19, the Soviet half of the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States. The crater Leonov on the far side of the Moon is named after him.

This picture shows Leonov photographed in 1974, wearing a lapel pin with a version of the emblem for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, which was then in development.

Photograph credit: NASA; retouched by Coffeeandcrumbs


March 19

The Allegory of Faith

The Allegory of Faith is an oil-on-canvas painting by Dutch Golden Age artist Johannes Vermeer. Painted in the early 1670s, it is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where it has been since 1931.

The painting depicts a finely dressed woman, representing the Catholic faith, sitting on a platform, with her right foot on a terrestrial globe and her right hand on her heart. She looks up, adoringly, at a glass sphere hung from the ceiling by a blue ribbon. Her left arm rests on the edge of a table which holds a golden chalice, a large book, and a crucifix. Resting on the book is a crown of thorns. At the bottom of the picture is an apple, and near that a snake squashed by a cornerstone. In the dim background hangs a large painting of the crucifixion of Jesus. Much of the symbolism, including the colour of the woman's clothing, her hand gestures, and the presence of the crushed snake and the apple, may have come from Cesare Ripa's emblem book Iconologia.

Painting credit: Johannes Vermeer


March 20

Portugalöser

Portugalösers were a specific denomination of large gold coins, worth ten ducats, which were based on Portuguese coinage, and generally minted beginning in the 1550s for commemoration, sale, or by commission to institutions or individuals.

This picture shows a 1679 half-portugalöser coin, equivalent to five ducats, minted in Hamburg, then a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. The obverse (left) depicts a panorama of the city with the Port of Hamburg in the foreground, while the reverse (right) depicts an allegory of peace. The inscriptions on the coin, in German, read 'Lord, may thy kindness be with us just as we have hoped for' on the obverse, and 'God loves our praise so graciously that he gives unto war first resistance then peace' on the reverse. This coin is now in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

Coin design credit: Free Imperial City of Hamburg; engraved by Johann Christoph Retke; photographed by the National Numismatic Collection


March 21

Yekaterina Skudina

Yekaterina Skudina (born 21 March 1981) is a Russian world champion and Olympic sailor. She was awarded the Roy Yamaguchi Memorial Trophy for winning the world championships in the women's Snipe class in 1998, and the bronze medal at the Yngling open world championships in 2007. At the 2011 World Championships, Skudina finished fourth in the Elliott 6m class. In addition, she has competed in three Olympic Games, finishing eighth in the Yngling class in 2004, sixth in the same class in 2008, and fourth in the Elliott 6m class in 2012.

This photograph of Skudina, taken in 2009, is part of a collection of 500 images of Russian sportspeople released to Wikimedia Commons by Bolshoi Sport.

Photograph credit: Platon Shilikov


March 22

Aida

Aida is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House and had its premiere there in 1871, in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today, the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York City's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886.

This picture shows Philippe Chaperon's set design for the finale (act 4, scene 2) of Aida's premiere at the Palais Garnier in Paris, which took place on 22 March 1880. The drawing depicts the interior of the Temple of Vulcan, with the vault of the temple visible at the bottom, and is now in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Set design credit: Philippe Chaperon; restored by Adam Cuerden


March 23

Chosen at random from a selection of ten; all alternatives shown below

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 3 was the first crewed mission in the Gemini program. On March 23, 1965, astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young flew three low Earth orbits in their spacecraft, which they nicknamed Molly Brown, in a playful reference to the Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown; the mission was successful, and the capsule did not sink at splashdown as had happened in Grissom's previous space flight, in the Mercury program.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 4 was the second crewed mission in the Gemini program. In June 1965, astronauts James McDivitt and Ed White flew sixty-six Earth orbits in their spacecraft. The highlight of the mission was the first space walk by an American, during which White floated free outside the spacecraft, tethered to it, for approximately twenty minutes.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing one bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 5 was the third crewed mission in the Gemini program. In August 1965, astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles "Pete" Conrad flew 120 Earth orbits in their spacecraft. The flight broke the Soviet Union's previous world record for duration, set by Vostok 5 in 1963, and was the first time an American-crewed space mission had held the record.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing one bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 6A was a mission in the Gemini program. On December 15, 1965, astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford were launched into space where they made the first crewed rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini 7; the two craft came within a foot (30 cm) of each other, and could have docked had they been equipped to do so.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 7 was a mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on December 4, 1965, and astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell spent nearly 14 days in space and made the first crewed rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini 6A; the two craft came within a foot (30 cm) of each other, and could have docked had they been equipped to do so.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 8 was a mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on March 16, 1966, and astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott conducted the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit. However, the mission suffered the first critical in-space system failure of a U.S. spacecraft which threatened the lives of the astronauts and required an immediate abort of the mission. The crew returned safely to Earth.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 9A was a mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on June 3, 1966, and astronauts Thomas P. Stafford and Gene Cernan spent three days in low Earth orbit. An attempt to dock with an unmanned spacecraft was unsuccessful, but Cernan performed a two hour extravehicular activity.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 10 was a mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on June 18, 1966, and astronauts John Young and Michael Collins spent three days in low Earth orbit. Gemini 10 was designed to achieve rendezvous and docking with an Agena target vehicle, and an extravehicular activity, and these objectives were successfully achieved.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 11 was a mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on September 12, 1966, and astronauts Pete Conrad and Richard Gordon spent two days in low Earth orbit. Gemini 11 performed the first-ever direct-ascent (first orbit) rendezvous with an Agena target vehicle, docking with it 1 hour 34 minutes after launch. Gordon also performed two extra-vehicular activities for a total of 2 hours 41 minutes.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office

NASA space-flown Gemini and Apollo medallions

NASA space-flown Gemini medallions were mission-specific commemorative medallions which were approved by NASA and carried aboard the mission spacecraft into orbit. Gemini 12 was the final mission in the Gemini program. The craft was launched on November 11, 1966, and astronauts Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin spent nearly four days in low Earth orbit. Gemini 12 marked a successful conclusion to the program, achieving the last of its goals by successfully demonstrating that astronauts can effectively work outside of spacecraft. This was instrumental in paving the way for the Apollo program, which aimed to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.

Fliteline medallions were made for each of the crewed Gemini flights, being prepared for the astronauts at their request. It is unclear who prepared these early medallions, only that each individual box containing a medallion bore the word "Fliteline".

Photograph credit: Heritage Auctions; commissioned by the NASA astronaut office


March 24

Blue pitta

The blue pitta (Hydrornis cyaneus) is a species of passerine bird native to tropical south-eastern Asia. It has long legs and a short tail, and is about 23 cm (9 in) long, the female being more sombrely clad than the male. Secretive and shy, it is found in moist lowland and montane forests, particularly in ravines and near watercourses. It forages on the forest floor for insects and other small invertebrates, flicking away leaves and probing the ground with its beak. The nest is a large, bulky dome-shaped structure with a side entrance, hidden amongst tangled plant growth.

This picture shows a male blue pitta photographed in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.

Photograph credit: John Harrison


March 25

View from Stalheim

View from Stalheim is an 1842 oil-on-canvas painting by Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl, depicting the view from the village of Stalheim, in the county of Vestland in western Norway. A major work of Romantic nationalism, it is regarded as a national icon and one of Dahl's best works. The scene overlooks the Nærøy Valley, with the sugarloaf-shaped peak of Jordalsnuten in the background, framed by other peaks and a rainbow. A small village in the centre is illuminated by the late afternoon sun. One of Dahl's purposes in the painting was that of realism; the other was to capture the glory and magnificence of the mountains, and his country's culture associated with it. He had trouble with the painting, and avoided similarly large works after its completion. The painting is now in the collection of the National Gallery in Oslo.

Painting credit: Johan Christian Dahl


March 26

Zaire ebolavirus

Zaire ebolavirus, more commonly known as Ebola virus (EBOV), is one of six known species within the genus Ebolavirus. Four of the six known ebolaviruses, including EBOV, cause a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and other mammals, known as Ebola virus disease (EVD). Ebola virus has caused the majority of human deaths from EVD, and was the cause of the 2013–2016 epidemic in western Africa, which resulted in at least 28,646 suspected cases and 11,323 confirmed deaths. The EBOV genome is of negative-sense single-stranded RNA, approximately 19,000 nucleotides in length. Bats, predominantly fruit bats, are believed to be the natural reservoir of the virus, which is primarily transmitted between humans and from animals to humans through body fluids. Infection with the virus produces a high mortality rate among humans.

This picture is a colorized scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles (green), visible both as extracellular particles and budding particles from a chronically infected African green monkey kidney cell (blue), at 20,000× magnification. This image was taken in a biosafety level 4 facility, the highest level of biosafety precautions, which is used for easily transmissible agents that cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which there are no available vaccines or treatments.

Photograph credit: John G. Bernbaum


March 27

The Voyage of Life: Manhood

Manhood is the third in a series of allegorical oil-on-canvas paintings by American artist Thomas Cole, entitled The Voyage of Life, which represent man's journey through life. In the painting, a now mature man has moved on from the innocence of infancy (Childhood) and the flush of juvenile overconfidence (Youth), to the trials and tribulations of middle age. He glides in his boat among dark, towering crags and gnarled trees, towards turbulent water with projecting rocks. The day is stormy and an angel watches through a rent in the clouds as he prays, his vessel moving ever closer to destruction. This painting, along with the other three in the series, was painted in 1842 and is held by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Painting credit: Thomas Cole


March 28

Thomas Willing

Thomas Willing (1731–1821) was an American merchant, a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress, and the first president of the First Bank of the United States. After studying abroad in England, he returned to Philadelphia in 1749, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits, in partnership with Robert Morris. They established the firm Willing, Morris and Company in 1757. This exported flour, lumber and tobacco to Europe while importing sugar, rum, molasses, and slaves from the West Indies and Africa; their partnership continued until 1793. Despite voting against the Declaration of Independence as a member of the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776, he later contributed £5,000 to the revolutionary cause.

This picture is a 1782 oil-on-canvas portrait of Willing by American artist Charles Willson Peale. He is depicted here in front of shipping on the Atlantic Ocean, the source of his wealth and status. He holds in his hand a snuff box, an emblem of his business interests and patriotism; it bears a profile of his close friend George Washington and contains powdered tobacco, one of his most profitable exports. The painting is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Painting credit: Charles Willson Peale


March 29

Brown rock chat

The brown rock chat (Oenanthe fusca) is a species of bird in the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. With a length of about 17 cm (7 in), the species is larger than the somewhat similar-looking Indian robin. The overparts are a uniform rufous brown, with the wings and tail a slightly darker shade than the rest of the body, while the underparts grade into a dark greyish-brown vent area. They feed mostly on insects picked up from the ground; individuals may forage late into the evening to capture insects attracted to lights.

The brown rock chat is distributed widely across central and northern India, in rocky habitats and around old buildings. This picture shows an individual photographed at the temple complex in Bateshwar, Uttar Pradesh.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp


March 30

The Absinthe Drinker

The Absinthe Drinker is a painting by Édouard Manet, dating to around 1859 and considered to be his first major painting. It is a full-length portrait of an alcoholic who frequented the area around the Louvre in Paris. The subject, painted in mostly brown, grey and black tones, wears a black top hat and a brown cloak, leaning on a ledge with the empty bottle discarded by his feet. Manet later added a half-full glass of absinthe on the ledge.

The Absinthe Drinker was the first work that Manet submitted to the Paris Salon in 1859. It was rejected with only Eugène Delacroix voting in its favour. Part of the reason for its rejection may be its subject; absinthe was considered morally degenerate, and this was one of the earliest depictions of absinthe in art. According to art historian Charles F. Stuckey, the painting presented in 1859 may have been significantly different and inferior to the current version. The painting is now in the collection at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Painting credit: Édouard Manet


March 31

Shoeless Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe Jackson (1887–1951) was an American outfielder who played Major League Baseball in the early 1900s. He is remembered for his performance on the field and for his association with the Black Sox Scandal, in which members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox participated in a conspiracy to fix the World Series. Jackson played for three Major League teams during his twelve-year career, briefly playing for the Philadelphia Athletics and the minor league New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Cleveland Naps for five years and finishing his career with the Chicago White Sox. He played left field for most of his career, and currently has the third-highest career batting average in major league history. He always denied being part of the match fixing scandal and subsequent events have cast doubts on his involvement.

This picture shows Jackson holding his baseball bat, Black Betsy, during his time with the Cleveland Naps in 1913.

Photograph credit: Charles M. Conlon


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