Nature | News

Horatio’s head, arty ants and an ephemeral lake

May’s sharpest science shots, selected by Nature’s photo team.

Article tools

Rights & Permissions

Inside the Palace

Ju Huanzong/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

China’s Lunar Palace 1 research facility is designed to test life-support systems that will be needed to realize the country’s goal of establishing a base on the Moon. This month, volunteers started a series of experiments for which they will be sealed into the site in Beijing for weeks at a time.

Art ants

  1. A full ant farm is included in this work by artist Anicka Yi, currently on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Yi works with biologists and chemists to forge pieces that rely on smell as well as sight for their impact.

    David Heald/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

  2. This work, entitled Lifestyle Wars, combines living ants with Plexiglas, mirrors, LEDs, computer servers and imitation pearls to create — the gallery says — “the possibility of a shared psychic experience between ant and human”.

    Byron Smith/NYT/eyevine

Jupiter enhanced

  1. Artist Seán Doran uses image-processing techniques to turn data on Jupiter from NASA’s Juno mission into images that he calls “creative efforts in communicating the ongoing exploration of the solar system”. You can see more of Doran’s work on Flickr and Twitter.

    Seán Doran/Gerald Eichstädt/MSSS/SwRI/NASA

  2. Juno continues to produce surprises as well as images — a raft of papers published last week shows surprises such as clusters of storms around Jupiter’s poles; an ammonia plume from the planet’s depths; and a magnetic field that is both stronger and patchier than previously predicted.

    Seán Doran/Gerald Eichstädt/MSSS/SwRI/NASA

  3. This picture shows the source data and the result after Doran has worked his magic.

    Seán Doran/Gerald Eichstädt/MSSS/SwRI/NASA

A passing lake

Copernicus Sentinel data (2017)/ESA (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Lake Mackay in Western Australia comes and goes with the rain. Brown hills poke through the surface of the ephemeral lake in this image, shot by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite as scientists continue to calibrate its instruments after its March launch.

Galactic spiral


Multiple Milky Ways are seen in this image from photographer Christian Sasse, who took pictures of the night sky from Australia every 60 minutes and superimposed them.

Gaia’s vision


This psychedelic egg is a representation of how the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite has scanned the sky since it started operating in 2014. Released last month, the image appears dark blue where Gaia has frequently scanned a region, and paler colours where its gaze has fallen less often, as it maps the brightness and position of more than one billion stars.

Preserved protection

Royal Tyrrell Museum

The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Canada, released pictures this month of “the best preserved armoured dinosaur ever found”. The remarkable 112-million-year-old fossil of a nodosaur was uncovered by miners in Alberta’s tar sands in 2011.

Head start

Jack Taylor/Getty

Wax effigies of eighteenth-century British naval leader Horatio Nelson and prime minister William Pitt the Elder were taken from their home at Westminster Abbey this month to be examined at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. The hospital’s radiology department is CT scanning the heads to help conservators determine their composition and structure.

Support structure

Zsolt Czegledi/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Artist Lorenzo Quinn’s sculpture of two hands emerging from a Venice canal calls attention to the climate change that threatens this famous Italian city. Entitled Support, it is on show as part of the Venice Biennale until November.

The view from above

  1. Drones are increasingly used by scientists, but they also give hobby enthusiasts a new view of the ground. The book Dronescapes (Thames & Hudson, 2017) collects some of the shots taken by the Dronestagram online community, including this picture of Lake Guerlédan, France.

    Nicolas Charles/

  2. Oceanside, California


  3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Alexandre Salem/

  4. Pfeiffer Beach, California

    Romeo Durscher/

Journal name:

For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will see comments updating in real-time and have the ability to recommend comments to other users.

Comments for this thread are now closed.


Comments Subscribe to comments

There are currently no comments.

sign up to Nature briefing

What matters in science — and why — free in your inbox every weekday.

Sign up



Nature Podcast

Our award-winning show features highlights from the week's edition of Nature, interviews with the people behind the science, and in-depth commentary and analysis from journalists around the world.