These illustrations are from a beautiful book about the various fish species in Indonesia, written by Dutch physician and ichthylogist Pieter Bleeker (1819–1878) under the title Atlas ichthyologique des Indes orientales néêrlandaises : publié sous les auspices du gouvernement colonial néêrlandais (Amsterdam, 1862). The Biodiversity Library identifies the book in the public domain. The PDF is available […]
“Planetary Nebula MyCn18: An Hourglass Pattern Around a Dying Star”: JANUARY 16, 1996: This Hubble telescope snapshot of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula, reveals that the object has an hourglass shape with an intricate pattern of “etchings” in its walls. A planetary nebula is the glowing relic of a dying, Sun-like star. The results are […]
These illustrations are from a late 18th century book about magic, the Clavis Inferni sive magia alba et nigra approbata Metratona by M. L. Cyprianus. There is not much information available about the book or author, but the writer of the Res Obscura blog suggests the author might actually be St. Cyprian. The official captions state, Cyprianus is also […]
The Flickr Page of the Biodiversity Heritage Library is a great resource for finding beautiful zoological and botanical illustrations. These water-lillies, for instance, were illustrated by William Sharp (1803–1875) and published in a book called Victoria regia, or, The great water lily of America written by John Fisk Allen (Boston, 1854). The genus, victoria, was named by English botanist […]
Born in 1546 in Denmark, Tycho Brahe served as an astronomer for the king of Denmark, and later, for the Holy Roman Emperor in Prague. He was well known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was also a pretty eccentric character: Tycho Brahe famously lost his nose in a sword duel […]
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated the DOCUMERICA Project in the 1970s to capture images relating to social and environmental issues, as well as everyday life. The digitized photographs were provided by the U. S. National Archives and published on Flickr without any copyright restrictions. Here are some highlights of the project.
Nothing is known of Abraham Eleazar, supposedly a Jewish alchemist and author of this remarkable book about ancient alchemy: Uraltes chymisches Werk… (“Age-Old Chymical Work”) which was first published in Erfurt in 1734 (Source). The Jewish Encyclopedia states that the Eleazar’s name was likely to be fictional, and the real author might have been Julius […]
Here be Dragons, hic sunt dracones, is a famously inscribed on one of the oldest globes in the world, the Hunt-Lenox Globe from ca. 1510, as a phrase marking unchartered territory. The following images are not about terrae incognitae – but they are about dragons. Even African ones.
Most detailed image of the Crab Nebula This new  Hubble image – One among the largest ever produced with the Earth-orbiting observatory – shows gives the most detailed view so far of the entire Crab Nebula ever made. The Crab is arguably the single most interesting object, as well as one of the most […]
From the collection of the Rijksmuseum, these illustrations of scientific instruments appeared in Natuurkundige lessen, door proefneemingen bevestigd, eerste deel, written by Jean Antoine Nollet and published (?) by Kornelis van Tongerlo in Amsterdam im 1759. There is no further information about Dutch engraver Nicolaas van Falkendaal (1720–1791), who is credited as the creator of […]