Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Aug 1, 2018
Don’t look down
It"s Swiss National Day, and the citizens of Switzerland are taking the day off. They’re celebrating the 1291 confederation of regional cantons that led to the formation of their country. The nation first celebrated this milestone 600 years later, in 1891, but the day wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1994. Perhaps the Swiss are able to summon that level of patience as they cross the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in the Alps near the village of Randa. At 1,621 feet, the bridge is currently ranked the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. It’s also pretty high–at one point along the span, brave crossers are 279 feet above the ground. Just keep moving forward and maybe yodel a bit to distract yourself…
Jul 31, 2018
Honoring the rangers on World Ranger Day
The wildlife ranger in today’s homepage image is conducting a bird census in the rainforests of a rare ecosystem in Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico. Modern-day park rangers perform a variety of tasks in their jobs, and it can be dangerous work. A ranger in the savannahs of Africa may track and apprehend poachers, while rangers in North America might brave harsh conditions to collect valuable data about the health of our forests, waters, and the critters that inhabit those places. So today, World Ranger Day, we honor the rangers who have died or were injured in the line of duty. The important work they do helps us better understand and appreciate the wild world around us.
Jul 30, 2018
Children at play for International Day of Friendship
Does this photo of kids at play in Kolkata, India, prompt memories of fun times you had as a child, when the world didn’t extend much further than you and your friends? If so, you’re in the right frame of mind to celebrate International Day of Friendship, or just Friendship Day. The idea began in a bid of crass commercialism: The holiday was invented and marketed by the founder of Hallmark Cards. But the public saw through that and it didn’t take. Decades later, a peace-promoting group called the World Friendship Crusade relaunched Friendship Day in Paraguay as a way to foster peace. It’s been gaining traction ever since.
Jul 29, 2018
A Bengal tiger in Ranthambore National Park, India
Tigers once roamed a broad territory across Asia, eastern Russia, and various islands of the Indian Ocean. Over the past century, hunting and habitat loss have reduced their range by more than 90 percent and have severely diminished the massive cats’ populations. Hundreds of thousands of tigers roamed in the wild 100 years ago, but a 2016 count estimated fewer than 4,000 wild tigers remained.
Jul 28, 2018
Defying gravity on a swing ride
Can you smell the fried food and cotton candy? Fair season is upon us, and amusement rides are usually just part of the whole fair-going experience. The modern fair has roots in ancient times, tracing back to a variety of influences, from Roman religious festivals to temporary markets set up at crossroads along the trade routes from Asia to Europe. Today, county and state fairs often combine industry and agriculture exhibits with various entertainment options such as this swing ride. What’s your fair-season favorite?
Jul 27, 2018
Composite image of a lunar eclipse
Tonight, a total lunar eclipse will be visible around many parts of the globe, but not in North America. (We’re disappointed too, but we can get through this together.) For an eclipse to qualify as ‘total’ the moon must pass through the middle of the Earth’s shadow, casting a reddish pall over the entire visible surface of the moon. Since we in the US will miss tonight’s eclipse, we’re sharing this composite photo that shows the total lunar eclipse that occurred on January 31, 2018.
Jul 26, 2018
Exploring the wilder side of New York
New York State isn’t all skyscrapers and teeming crowds. The Empire State is home to a diverse geography, including some wild places that were around back on July 26, 1788, when New York officially joined the Union. In honor of New York’s statehood day, we’re at Letchworth State Park, a wilderness near Rochester that follows the Genesee River some 17 miles through a deep gorge that’s known as the "Grand Canyon of the East."
Jul 25, 2018
Splashes of color for Watercolor Month
World Water Color Month is the perfect excuse to get creative. Sure, you might not be able to paint something as iconic as Winslow Homer’s ‘Rocky Beach,’ shown here, but all you need is a set of watercolor paints from the drugstore to whip up a unique painting of your own. Art, after all, can be a cathartic form of expression. As Bob Ross once said: ‘In painting, you have unlimited power. You have the ability to move mountains. You can bend rivers. But when I get home, the only thing I have power over is the garbage.’
Jul 24, 2018
Flock together for Cousins Day
Are these chicks cousins? Perhaps. Caribbean (aka American) flamingos, like all flamingo species, lay just one egg per year, so chicks of the same size are more likely cousins than siblings. These chicks and their hovering parents are in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in the Yucatan Peninsula, a critical nesting colony for Caribbean flamingos. They’re highly social birds that live in colonies of thousands, so they have plenty of opportunities to celebrate Cousins Day today. Here’s to you, cuz!
Jul 23, 2018
Tokyo welcomes a futuristic new art museum
You’re looking at ‘Forest of Resonating Lamps,’ an art exhibit in the newly opened Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo’s Odaiba area, a manmade island in Tokyo Bay. The futuristic facility is making headlines this summer for its unique format. The venue features exclusively digital art–some 50 exhibits that are displayed throughout the 10,000-square-foot space to create an immersive, borderless experience. More than 500 computers and 470 projectors are used to create an ethereal effect. In "Forest of Resonating Lamps," hundreds of lamps dangle from the ceiling and light up in response to movement in the room.
Jul 22, 2018
Travel Sunday: On the Ganges in Varanasi, India
These floating candles are part of the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a nightly Hindu ritual here in Varanasi, which is a holy city for followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, all of which are ancient religions of India. Tourists join congregants who gather at the river’s edge as practitioners make offerings of light to the goddess Ganga, the river’s namesake. In addition to Varanasi’s religious significance, this diverse city in North India also draws tourists for its ornate temples, silks, and archaeological sites.
Jul 21, 2018
And you thought moths were boring
National Moth Week shines the porch light on an unlikely hero. Unlike their showier cousins, butterflies, moths get a bad rap from time to time, and that’s fair, as caterpillars of some moth species are agricultural pests. But before you break out the mothballs, take a gander at winged wonders like the comet moth, shown here. Scientists estimate that there are some 160,000 species of moths worldwide, many just as stunning as our comet moth, and tracking their health often helps us gauge the health of entire ecosystems.
Jul 20, 2018
Composite of photographs from the Apollo 15 mission
Today is National Moon Day, commemorating the day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. Eleven other astronauts have gone on to follow in his bootsteps, including Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin, who took these historic photos during the Apollo 15 moon mission in 1971. We’ve stitched together their images to create this composite panorama of the landing site, where they spent three days conducting research. (If only they had selfie sticks back then.) Look for the ‘play’ button on our homepage to hear actual transmissions between the crew and the Mission Control Center in Houston.
Jul 19, 2018
Cosplay strongly encouraged
The first San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) was a single-day event for comic book fans on March 21, 1970. After that successful trial run, the organizers staged a three-day event featuring celebrity appearances later that year. Comic-Con grew quickly from a modest gathering of dedicated fans to the massive multimedia spectacle of SDCC that begins today. Each year, more than 100,000 Comic-Con attendees dress as their favorite characters from the books, television shows, and movies that they love.
Jul 18, 2018
Celebrate Mandela Day
Today we’re in Howick, a town near the east coast of South Africa, where this monument honors the anti-apartheid activist and South African president Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 today. Like Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, Mandela Day—celebrated on Mandela’s birthday—is intended not as a holiday exactly but as a day to answer the ‘global call to action’ by finding ways to engage in service to your local community. The best part about Mandela Day? You don’t need to be from South Africa to observe the event.
Jul 17, 2018
Is there a bug-egg emoji for this?
Nothing says ‘smile!’ like a bunch of eggs laid by a member of the Pentatomidae family of insects. Not all stink bug eggs look like they have faces, but this incident of ‘life imitates emoji’ was too good to pass up today. That’s right, it’s World Emoji Day. Those tiny, cartoonish pictures that often stand in for words and phrases in social media posts and text messages have become a system of communication all their own. But why on July 17? Early on in the (very recent) history of emoji, the calendar emoji displayed July 17. So, when the time came for emoji to get their own day of recognition, this date stood out above all others.
Jul 16, 2018
If you visit the Lost Angeles County Museum of Art, you’ll be able to walk through this art installation made from 202 street lights arranged in a tight grid. Over the course of about 20 years, artist Chris Burden collected 1920s- and ‘30s-era street lights, which he meticulously restored, painted, and installed in 2008 as ‘Urban Light’ at LACMA’s entrance. This year, for its 10-year anniversary, the 309 incandescent light bulbs of the sculpture were replaced with more efficient LED bulbs designed to emulate the soft light of the original bulbs and to reduce harmful emissions.
Jul 15, 2018
This photo captures an unusual view of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, where soccer"s most prestigious event, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, takes place today. If you"re still feeling fuzzy on World Cup details, here’s a quick primer: Today"s event is the culmination of 64 matches that began June 14, with 32 men"s national teams battling for the sport"s top honors. Previous World Cup champs France face off against Croatia in today’s game. Croatia’s team is the "Cinderella" of the match, as they’ve come through with some unexpected victories. Congrats to both teams for making it this far!
Jul 14, 2018
Does this shark have an Irish accent?
Our Shark Awareness Day celebrity is a blue shark swimming in the cold waters off Cork, Ireland. The inspiration for its name comes from the blue shark’s back color, not its mood. It’s currently listed as ‘near threatened’—a status all too common for sharks today. Why celebrate an apex predator that most humans associate with horror movies? Because without sharks acting as population control on other marine life, the world’s oceans would be a very different place. Blue sharks eat a lot of squid and fish, and like land predators, help to keep their prey from overpopulation. Mother Nature keeps us in a delicate balance, so it’s important that we don’t accidentally remove a vital member of that system… even if that creature seems scary to most of us.
Jul 13, 2018
The puffin-rabbit connection
Atlantic puffins spend most of their lives at sea—either flying over the surf as they migrate and search for fishing spots, or diving into the water to gobble up fish. But in spring and summer they come ashore to nest, meet up with their mates, and with any luck, raise a chick or two. Puffins can dig their own burrows, as they prefer to build nests underground atop seaside cliffs. But if there are rabbit warrens around, the puffins have no problem moving into empty burrows. They’re not even above kicking a rabbit out to take over.
Jul 12, 2018
Provence blooms with lavender at Sénanque Abbey
Lavender season is in full swing in Provence, and tourists are flocking to destinations like Sénanque Abbey to see the sweet-smelling spectacle of fields painted purple. The monks here at Sénanque cultivate lavender for their livelihood and these days the herb is in demand mostly for its essential oil, which lends a soothing scent to cosmetics, cleaning products, and even food. Lavender ice cream, lemonade, and cakes are popping up on menus around the globe.
Jul 11, 2018
All is silent for Big Ben’s musical milestone
‘Big Ben’ is the name commonly used to describe the tower, the clock, and the bell of this London landmark. But technically, Big Ben refers only to the tower’s Great Bell, which Londoners first heard chime on this day in 1859. Ordinarily, four quarter bells chime at 15, 30, and 45 minutes past the hour and again just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. However, Big Ben is silent for today’s anniversary. It stopped tolling in 2017 to undergo significant renovations that are expected to last through 2021. Eager tourists can still visit the tower, which was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
Jul 10, 2018
Wyoming celebrates its statehood
On this day in 1890 Wyoming became the 44th state in the US, which is good news for wilderness fanatics. Wyoming is home to iconic outdoor spaces such as the Tetons, Devils Tower, the Black Hills, and Yellowstone. Shown here is Bridger Wilderness, part of Bridger-Teton National Forest, named for the famous frontiersman Jim Bridger. Bridger was a trapper, explorer, and wilderness guide who is often called the ‘Daniel Boone’ of the Rockies. He’s credited with discovering Wyoming’s Bridger Pass as well as being the first European American to see the Great Salt Lake. And it’s not just the state’s spectacular landscape that sets it apart—Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote in 1869, earlier than anywhere else in the country. And in 1924, the people of Wyoming elected the nation’s first female governor. Here’s to you, Equality State!
Jul 9, 2018
Gauchos showcase Argentina’s independent spirit
Gauchos are a national symbol here in Argentina, which celebrates its independence today, 202 years after it broke free from Spanish rule. These gauchos are showcasing their skills in the town of San Antonio de Areco, home to an annual gaucho festival that draws people from all over. The gauchos gather to share traditional food, folklore, and competition. Since the 18th century, gauchos have been known as skilled, brave horsemen and their exploits are celebrated in South American literature and popular culture.
Jul 8, 2018
Travel Sunday: Flamenco in Granada, Andalusia, Spain
Flamenco is just one highlight of Spanish culture showcased in the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance, which wraps up today. The festival takes place at venues throughout the city, including at the Alhambra, a fortified palace and high-profile tourist destination that’s steeped in history–just like flamenco. Here in the region of Andalusia, flamenco is more than just a dance. It’s a cultural expression that dates back centuries, to the Roma migration to Spain. Traditionally, the art focused on the cante–or singing–and was performed outside. The introduction of flamenco cafes in the 19th century saw the art form evolve to showcase baile (dance) and toque (guitar music).