Photo of the day

From an In Focus photos of the week gallery:

A Colombian Army Special Forces soldier rappels with a dog in a military exercise during the visit of US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon at a military base in Tolemaida, Colombia, on October 10, 2014.(Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo of the day

From a Wired gallery of best Biology photos of the year:

A Shelter Designed by Nature, by Robert Cabagnot
Shortlisted, Photographer of the Year

COURTESY OF THE SOCIETY OF BIOLOGY

Photo of the day

From a Telegraph photos of the week gallery:

Butterfly death throes. Many celestial objects are beautiful – swirling spiral galaxies or glittering clusters of stars are notable examples. But some of the most striking scenes are created during the death throes of intermediate-mass stars, when great clouds of superheated gas are expelled into space. These dying breaths form planetary nebulas like NGC 6302, captured here.<br />
Known perhaps more appropriately as the Bug or Butterfly Nebula, this complex nebula lies roughly 3800 light-years away from us within the Milky Way. It was formed when a star around five times the mass of our Sun became a red giant, ejected its outer layers, and became intensely hot. Its distinctive shape classifies it as a bipolar nebula, where fast-moving gas can escape more easily from the poles of the dying star than from around its equator. This creates a lobed structure reminiscent of an hourglass or, as in this case, a giant cosmic butterfly.” /></p>
<p><em>Butterfly death throes. Many celestial objects are beautiful – swirling spiral galaxies or glittering clusters of stars are notable examples. But some of the most striking scenes are created during the death throes of intermediate-mass stars, when great clouds of superheated gas are expelled into space. These dying breaths form planetary nebulas like NGC 6302, captured here. Known perhaps more appropriately as the Bug or Butterfly Nebula, this complex nebula lies roughly 3800 light-years away from us within the Milky Way. It was formed when a star around five times the mass of our Sun became a red giant, ejected its outer layers, and became intensely hot. Its distinctive shape classifies it as a bipolar nebula, where fast-moving gas can escape more easily from the poles of the dying star than from around its equator. This creates a lobed structure reminiscent of an hourglass or, as in this case, a giant cosmic butterfly.<span class=Picture: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Photo of the day

From Telegraph’s animal photos of the week:

A red squirrel adopts a superman-like pose, leaping over three metre gaps between branches in pursuit of nuts.

A red squirrel adopts a superman-like pose, leaping over three metre gaps between branches in pursuit of nuts. They are a common species in the woodland areas between Stavanger and Bergen in Norway. Rolf Selvik lives on the forest edge and has been following the red squirrels for years, taking the opportunity to photograph them in flight.Picture: Rolf Selvik /Solent News

Photo of the day

My instagram of the deep-fried everything booth at the NC State fair on Friday.  Personally, you just can’t beat straight-up fried dough covered in butter and cinnamon-sugar, i.e., an elephant ear, so that’s what I went with, as I do every year (had my first ever elephant ear at the 1993 NC State fair).  Funnel cakes are good, but nothing like an elephant ear.

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo of the day:

Underwater picture of a sperm whale’s tail

Whale of a Tail

Photograph by Shane Gross, National Geographic Your Shot

A sperm whale “waves goodbye” to Your Shot member Shane Gross, who had traveled to Sri Lanka’s east coast hoping to photograph blue whales. “While we did have some success with the blues, it was the sperm whales that stole the show,” he writes. He captured this picture toward the end of the six-day expedition. “It was late in the day and the sun was low as this small pod swam toward me, and I did my best to keep quiet so as to not frighten them. This one started to dive and I free dove right after her, trying to get as close to that massive tail as possible. I knew she might be the last whale I’d encounter on the trip, and indeed, she was.”

Photo of the day

From a recent Telegraph pictures of the day gallery:

A rutting stag looms out of the mist during the sunrise in Richmond Park, London

A rutting stag looms out of the mist during the sunrise in Richmond Park, LondonPicture: Adrian Moysey/News Dog Media

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