Uffington White Horse, Oxfordshire, UK
The Uffington White Horse is a highly stylised prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure has been shown to date back some 3, 000 years, to the Bronze Age, by means of optically stimulated luminescence dating carried out following archaeological investigations in 1994. These studies produced three dates ranging between 1400 and 600 BC. Iron Age coins that bear a representation comparable to the Uffington White Horse have been found, supporting the early dating of this artifact; counter suggestions that the figure was fashioned in the Anglo-Saxon period now seem untenable. Numerous other prominent prehistoric sites are located nearby, notably Wayland's Smithy long barrow. The Uffington is by far the oldest of the white horse figures in Britain, and is of an entirely different design from the others
© DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
1689 Sir Isaac Newton portrait young
Sir Isaac Newton ( 4 January 1643 -31 March 1727). English physicist and mathematician. 18th Century Mezzotint portrait after the painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller 1689, with later colouring. It shows Newton in his prime and is the earliest of the portraits. Newton is famous for his laws of motion and gravitation and remains one of the greatest scientists of all time. His opus magnus was his "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica". Other pursuits included optical physics, alchemy, religious and occult investigation, and preventing forgery while superintendant of the Royal Mint. He was widely viewed as an eccentric genius, but his human remains indicated mercury poisoning from his alchemy may have contributed to his instability. This version retains yellow age toning of original and is in the possession of the photographer.
© PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
MAP microwave background
Cosmic microwave background. Whole sky image of the cosmic microwave background made by the MAP (Microwave Anisotropy Probe) spacecraft. This map indicates that the age of the universe is around 13.7 billion years. The data also reveal that the universe is expanding at 71 kilometres per second per megaparsec (1 Mpc = 3262 light years). The colours reveal variations in the temperature of the universe in all directions. This correlates to the density of material at the time when the universe became transparent to radiation, about 380, 000 years after its creation. The denser regions (red, yellow) formed the seeds of galaxies and other structures. Data obtained in 2003.
© NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY