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A monthly archive of Wikipedia's pictures of the day

These featured pictures have previously appeared (or will appear) as picture of the day (POTD) on the Main Page, as scheduled below. You can add the automatically updating picture of the day to your userpage or talk 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.

May 1 – Mon

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is the main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman. Completed in 2001, it has a total capacity of 20,000 worshipers, including over 6,500 in the main prayer hall.Photograph: Richard Bartz

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May 2 – Tue

A focus stacked composite image showing head detail of Rhinotia hemistictus, a species of beetle.Photograph: Spongepuppy

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May 3 – Wed

Paisley Abbey is a Church of Scotland parish kirk located on the east bank of the White Cart Water in Paisley, Renfrewshire. The site has been used for religious purposes since the 7th century, and a Cluniac monastery was on the site from the 11th century. Marjorie Bruce, the mother of King Robert II, is thought to have been buried in the abbey.Photograph: Colin

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May 4 – Thu

Rubens Peale (1784–1865) was an American artist and museum director. Son of artist-naturalist Charles Willson Peale and brother of artist Rembrandt Peale, Rubens took up painting after a lengthy career managing such museums as the Peale Museum in Baltimore and his own New York Museum of Natural History and Science in New York City. In the last decade of his life, he produced 130 paintings.

Shown here is Rubens Peale With a Geranium, an 1801 portrait by Rubens' brother Rembrandt. This painting's 1985 sale to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., set a record for an American work of art sold at auction.Painting: Rembrandt Peale

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May 5 – Fri

A lithograph by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler and James Moyer showing the town of Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1895. Founded in 1849 by the Pennsylvania Railroad as the site for a shop and maintenance complex, Altoona was incorporated in 1868. It grew rapidly, from a population of approximately 2,000 in 1854 to almost 20,000 in 1880. Presently the Altoona metropolitan area is home to 127,089, and the local economy has diversified to include healthcare and retail.Lithograph: Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler and James Moyer; restoration: Adam Cuerden

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May 6 – Sat

A yellow-headed caracara (Milvago chimachima) on the back of a capybara (Hydrochoeris hydrochaeris) in the Pantanal in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Caracaras are a type of falcon that typically scavenge for their food, while capybaras are the largest rodents in the world.Photograph: Charles J. Sharp

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May 7 – Sun

Gold certificates were a United States paper currency between 1863 and 1933. Each certificate gave its title to a corresponding amount of gold coin as established by the Coinage Act of 1834. The Series of 1882, shown here, was the first series to be payable to the bearer; unlike previous issues, anyone could redeem these certificates for the equivalent in gold. Shown here is a $500 banknote, depicting Abraham Lincoln.

Other notes: $20, $50, $100, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000Banknote: Bureau of Engraving and Printing (image courtesy of the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History)

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May 8 – Mon

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump is an oil painting on canvas completed by Joseph Wright of Derby in 1768. It shows a natural philosopher recreating one of Robert Boyle's air pump experiments, in which a bird is deprived of air, before a varied group of onlookers. They exhibit a variety of reactions, but for most of them scientific curiosity overcomes concern for the bird. The painting has been owned by the National Gallery, London, since 1863 and is regarded as a masterpiece of British art.Painting: Joseph Wright of Derby

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May 9 – Tue

William J. Duane (1780–1865) was an Irish-born American politician and lawyer from Pennsylvania. Born in Clonmel, Duane emigrated to the United States with his parents and assisted his father in publishing the Aurora until 1806. After becoming an influential lawyer, he served several terms in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Duane served as United States Secretary of the Treasury for some four months in 1833; his refusal to withdraw Federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States led to his dismissal by President Andrew Jackson.Engraving: Bureau of Engraving and Printing; restoration: Andrew Shiva

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May 10 – Wed

The white-headed stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus) is a bird in the family Recurvirostridae. Sometimes considered a subspecies of the black-winged stilt, this shorebird feeds on aquatic insects and on small molluscs in shallow water. It is resident in southern Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and most of Australia and New Zealand.Photograph: JJ Harrison

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May 11 – Thu

Sofia Church, named after the Swedish queen Sophia of Nassau, is one of the major churches in Stockholm, Sweden. Designed during an architectural contest in 1899 and inaugurated in 1906, it belongs to Sofia parish of the Church of Sweden.Photograph: Arild Vågen

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May 12 – Fri

Cepheus is a constellation in the northern sky. Named after Cepheus, King of Aethiopia, in Greek mythology, it was listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Its brightest star is Alpha Cephei. The constellation also has the hyperluminous quasar S5 0014+81, which hosts the most massive black hole known in the universe.

This illustration was included in Urania's Mirror, a set of celestial cards illustrated by Sidney Hall.Illustration: Sidney Hall; restoration: Adam Cuerden

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May 13 – Sat

Skull of a male North Sulawesi babirusa, a species from the pig family endemic to Indonesia. Babirusas are notable for the long upper canines in the males that emerge vertically from the alveolar process, penetrating though the skin and curving backward over the front of the face and towards the forehead.Photograph: Didier Descouens

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May 14 – Sun

Roses is a 1893 painting by P.S. Krøyer, one of the most successful artists of the community known as the Skagen Painters. The work is one of several that shows Krøyer's wife Marie. In this painting, Marie is seated in a deckchair under a large rose bush in the garden of the couple's house in Skagen, with their dog Rap asleep beside her. The painting was sold for 3.1 million Danish kroner in 1985 and was donated anonymously to the Skagens Museum in 2008.Painting: P.S. Krøyer

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May 15 – Mon

The Dome of the Chain is a free-standing dome located east of the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem. One of the oldest structures on the Temple Mount, it is used as a prayer house. Built in the late 7th century by the Umayyads, it was a Christian chapel under the Crusaders before being restored as an Islamic prayer house by the Ayyubids. Over the years, it has been renovated by the Mamluks, Ottomans, and the Palestinian-based waqf.Photograph: Andrew Shiva

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May 16 – Tue

William H. Seward (1801–1872) was United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, and earlier served as Governor of New York and United States Senator. A determined opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was generally praised for his work on behalf of the Union as Secretary of State during the American Civil War. His firm stance against foreign intervention in the Civil War helped deter Britain and France from entering the conflict, which might have led to the independence of the Confederate States. His contemporary Carl Schurz described Seward as "one of those spirits who sometimes will go ahead of public opinion instead of tamely following its footprints."Photograph: Unknown; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

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May 17 – Wed

The Namaqua chameleon (Chamaeleo namaquensis) is a lizard found in the western desert regions of Namibia, South Africa, and southern Angola. This species, which can reach 25 cm (9.8 in) in length, is common in the Namib Desert. It has evolved several adaptations which allow it to thrive in hot and arid areas, such as the ability to change color to control temperature.Photograph: Yathin S Krishnappa

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May 18 – Thu

Dancer in a Café is a large oil painting completed in 1912 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). The work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1912. The painting is now located at the Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.Painting: Jean Metzinger

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May 19 – Fri

A photograph of British soldiers loading a shrapnel shell during World War I. Published in The Illustrated War News, this image was captioned:

"Our illustration gives an interior view, so to speak, of a gun-position, in the British lines at the front, screened by head-cover to escape observation by German airmen. The overhead covering is seen with its deceptive thatch, apparently of straw, and the gunners are shown in action loading the gun. The man to the left is setting the time-fuse of a shrapnel shell."Photograph: Photopress; restoration: Adam Cuerden

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May 20 – Sat

A Company of Danish Artists in Rome, painted by Constantin Hansen in 1837. This painting depicts several members of the Danish Golden Age, a period of exceptional creative production in Denmark in the early 19th century. In the painting, the architect Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll is lying on the floor with a fez and pipe. Martinus Rørbye is sitting beside him on the floor, looking somewhat critically into his tiny coffee cup, while the artist sits in a chair. Wilhelm Marstrand, Albert Küchler, and Ditlev Blunck are on the balcony, and Jørgen Sonne is sitting on the table.Painting: Constantin Hansen

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May 21 – Sun

Westerlund 2 is an obscured compact young star cluster in the Milky Way with an estimated age of about one or two million years. It contains some of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars known. The cluster resides inside a stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina. It is half a degree from the Cepheid variable V399 Carinae.Photograph: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/et al.

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May 22 – Mon

Wells Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Wells, Somerset, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle. The seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, it is the mother church of the diocese and contains the bishop's throne (cathedra). It was built between 1175 and 1490, replacing an earlier church built on the same site in 705. The cathedral's architecture is entirely Gothic and mostly in the Early English style of the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The cathedral is a Grade I listed building.Photograph: David Iliff

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May 23 – Tue

Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy".

Born in the countryside of Småland, Linnaeus received most of his higher education at Uppsala University and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He studied abroad between 1735 and 1738, and published the first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands. Upon his return to Sweden, he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 1760s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants, and minerals, and published several volumes. At the time of his death, he was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.Painting: Alexander Roslin

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May 24 – Wed

The water rail (Rallus aquaticus) is a bird of the rail family which breeds in well-vegetated wetlands across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Northern and eastern populations are migratory, but this species is a permanent resident in the warmer parts of its breeding range. The adult is 23–28 cm (9–11 in) long, and breeds in reed beds and other marshy sites with tall, dense vegetation. These rails are vulnerable to flooding or freezing conditions, loss of habitat and predation by mammals and large birds. The introduced American mink has exterminated some island populations, but overall the species' large range and numbers mean that it is not considered to be threatened.Photograph: Pierre Dalous

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May 25 – Thu

The Scots Monastery is the former Benedictine Abbey of St James in Regensburg, Germany. It was founded in the 11th century by Irish missionaries and for most of its history was in the hands of first Irish, then Scottish monks. It has been used as a seminary for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg since 1862.Photograph: Richard Bartz

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May 26 – Fri

The National Press Monument is a monument and museum to the national Indonesian press. Established in 1978, the monument is located in Surakarta, Central Java, and operated by the Ministry of Communications and Information. The complex consists of an old society building as well as several subsequent expansions. It has a collection of over a million newspapers and magazines, as well as a variety of exhibitions and artefacts related to the history of the press in Indonesia. Facilities include a multimedia room, free-to-read newspapers, and a library.Photograph: Chris Woodrich; edit: David Iliff

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May 27 – Sat

A peacock butterfly (Aglais io) resting on blackthorn at Otmoor RSPB reserve in Oxfordshire, England. The peacock's four large eyespots on its wings act as an anti-predator defence mechanism.Photograph: Charles J. Sharp

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May 28 – Sun

Hawksmoor Towers at All Souls College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. All Souls is one of the wealthiest colleges in Oxford, with a financial endowment of £286.4m (2014), but only ranks nineteenth among Oxford colleges with respect to total income. The college has no undergraduate members; each year, recent graduate and postgraduate students at Oxford are eligible to apply for Examination Fellowships through a competitive examination and an interview.Photograph: Andrew Shiva

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May 29 – Mon

Charles II of England (1630–1685) was king of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 from his father's execution until being deposed by Oliver Cromwell in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Internationally, Charles became involved in the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars. Domestically, Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it.Painting: John Michael Wright or studio

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May 30 – Tue

A juvenile black-sided hawkfish, a species of hawkfish from the Indo-Pacific. It is occasionally found in the aquarium trade and is also of minor importance to local commercial fisheries. It grows to a total length of 22 cm (9 in).Photograph: Nick Hobgood

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May 31 – Wed

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is an oil painting on canvas completed by the Anglo-American painter John Singer Sargent between 1885 and 1886. It depicts two small children who are lighting paper lanterns in a garden strewn with pink roses, accents of yellow carnations and tall white lilies. The work received a mixed reception at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It is now displayed at Tate Britain.Painting: John Singer Sargent

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Picture of the day archive

Today is Saturday, September 21, 2019; it is now 05:23 UTC