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Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

Earth from Space, 2

Posted by Laurie Frost on July 8, 2011

Here are a few more public domain images taken by astronauts aboard the Space Station and posted at “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.”  As of July 1, 2011, there were 620,723 images from the International Space Station at the site. The format citation is:

Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

Here, I am not going to repeat that for every picture. Also, NASA recommends

“that the caption or supporting materials used for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), and our website ( so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed. We always appreciate notification of uses of the photographs—information on your applications will help us continue to maintain these services for the public. Send e-mail to”

I have done so here so that you may easily locate all resolutions available and the database accompanying the pictures.


World Trade Center Attack: This still image taken from the International Space Station on September 11, 2001, shows the World Trade Center smoke plume rising from the lower Manhattan area of New York City.


Everest and Makalu

“Thinning Upper Atmosphere: From a vantage point about 360 km (225 miles) over the Earth, Space Station crewmembers photographed the crescent moon through the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere. At the bottom of the image, a closed deck of clouds is probably at about 6 km (3 miles). The shades of blue grading to black are caused by the scatter of light as it strikes gas molecules of the very low density upper atmosphere.”

Eruption of Mt. Etna, Sicily, on October 30, 2002.

Cumulonimbus Cloud over Africa.

Mission: ISS016 Roll: E Frame: 27426

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Earth from Space

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 23, 2011

The following pictures are in the public domain because they were taken by astronauts aboard the Space Station. As of
June 1, 2011, there were 615,589 images from the International Space Station.

Under FAQ at the site, “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth,” is this statement regarding use:

Do I need special permission to use astronaut photographs or to publish them?

NASA asserts no copyright over these photographs, but requests that it be credited as the source of the information. We recommend that the caption for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed.

The recommended citation format is:

Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center.

I’ve not repeated that under each picture on this page. But I have given you the link that will take you to the image. There you can “click the photo number to access all resolutions available and the database record.”

“Sunset Seen from the International Space Station: This spectacular image of sunset on the Indian Ocean was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The image presents an edge-on, or limb view, of the Earth’s atmosphere as seen from orbit. The Earth’s curvature is visible along the horizon line, or limb, that extends across the image from center left to lower right. Above the darkened surface of the Earth, a brilliant sequence of colors roughly denotes several layers of the atmosphere.”> (06/12/2011 21:12:02).

Aurora Australis.

Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Northern Israel.

Paris, France.

The Nile River and its delta.

Golden Gate, San Francisco, California.

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The Eagle Has Risen & Other Stellar Public Domain Images

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 30, 2009

Did you realize that most of the images the Hubble telescope has relayed home to Earth which have been posted on the web are in the public domain in the US?

They are because  Hubble is a NASA project, and NASA is a federally funded, taxpayer-supported agency.

To see these, visit It’s important if you are looking for public domain images to go there rather than to the Gallery on because in the Gallery are some images that include added copyrighted material by individuals not working for NASA or under contract to NASA at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSci).

A full explanation is found on  HubbleSite’s Copyright Notice.

The 728 images in the News Center Archive are organized in 9 primary categories: cosmology, exotic, galaxy, misc., nebula, solar system, star, star cluster, and survey, and each (other than misc.) is further divided by subcategory. Or you can browse by year. The documentation for each image is outstanding, including the news release accompanying the image,  and materials such as fast facts, video, background, associated images, and links.

The image below is titled “The Eagle Has Risen: Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula.” From the Fast Facts we learn that the Eagle Nebula is a gaseous nebula  some 6 light-years wide.hs-2005-12-b-web_print Next, “‘Light Echo’ Illuminates Dust Around Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis” is an image of a nova-like variable star and surrounding light echo roughly 20,000 light-years away on the outer edge of the Milky Way. Read more about it here.hs-2004-10-a-web_print

 The Cat’s Eye Nebula  in the Constellation Draco, a mere 3,000 light-years away, is a dying star.


The next image shows where stars are born near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left) and the Tarantula Nebula, roughly 170,000 light-years away. Read more here. hs-2008-31-a-web_printHere’s the Sombrero Galaxy, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo about  28 million light-years away.hs-2003-28-a-web_print

Finally, a picture of our photographer, the Hubble space telescope, viewed from the space shuttle.hs-2000-29-a-web




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On the Moon, In Space, On the Water: More from NASA’s GRIN

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 11, 2009

Moving along in time from the first sampling from NASA’s GRIN, or Great Images at NASA, today’s post provides an entirely arbitrary sampling of 1960s and early ’70s photos, all in the public domain. The quotations describing the images are also found on that site.

The umbilical cord is what caught my attention in this June 1965 photo of the first spacewalk, taken by Gemini 4 astronaut Ed White:GPN-2000-001180

For 23 minutes White floated and maneuvered himself around the Gemini spacecraft while logging 6500 miles during his orbital stroll. White was attached to the spacecraft by a 25 foot umbilical line and a 23-ft. tether line, both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand White carries a Hand Held Self Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU) which is used to move about the weightless environment of space. The visor of his helmet is gold plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.

 Less than two years later, White was one of the three Apollo 1 crew members to be killed by a fire during a simulated launch test inside the Apollo Command Module.


GPN-2000-001146This next shot from 1971 puzzles me. I mean, wouldn’t it have been easier just to stop and ask mission control for directions? But here we have Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module pilot, reading a map on the moon. How, I wonder, could he hold on to a map with those big bulky gloves, let alone unfold and refold the thing?

I don’t think I ever realized how dirty the astronauts got collecting moon dust and lunar soil, but have a look at Harrison Schmitt, a geologist and the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, during the last trip to the moon in 1972. Would have made a great laundry detergent commercial, the little lady wife at home in her suburban Houston laundry room, shaking her head at the ground-in dirt on her husband’s work clothes.


I always liked to watch coverage of splashdowns, lots of drama — parachutes, the bobbing space capsule in the middle of the ocean, the racing into position of the aircraft carriers, the helicopters and frogmen. I never knew about the green dye, but the description of the recovery of Gemini 4 in 1965 says it was used to help spot the craft. GPN-2000-001411

It’s a good thing that three parachutes were used to slow the descent of the capsules. When Apollo 15 splashed down on August 7, 1971, one of the three parachutes failed.GPN-2000-001121

No one knew whether the first men on the moon might bring back some weird germs or diseases, so when Apollo 11 returned to earth in 1969, they were outfitted in haz mat suits (or Biological Isolation Garments [BIG]) and were quarantineed on their way home. While Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. wait in the raft, Pararescueman Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, also in a BIG, secures the door of the capsule. And here they are (left to right). Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin waving at President Richard Nixon from their quarantine trailer on the deck of the USS Hornet.GPN-2002-000051




Credits: All images  — NASA.

Images reference numbers:

Ed White S65-30433
Mitchell AS14-64-9089
Schmitt AS17-145-22157
green dye S65-51656
parachutes S71-41999
Apollo splashdown 108-KSC-69PC-452
Nixon S69-21365

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Dr. Goddard Goes to Roswell. And “Female Computers.”

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 9, 2009

Today’s selections are the first of several batches that will give you an idea of what can be found at GRIN, or Great Images at NASA. NASA is a Federal agency, supported by Federal public monies, and thus  images captured by an employee on the job are in the public domain. The NASA Copyright Notification:

Photographs are not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, photographs may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA. If a recognizable person appears in a photograph, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity and permission should be obtained from the recognizable person.

A special consideration is noted as well:

NASA materials may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any other manner that might mislead.

This is an easy to use site with the selections categorized in 8 categories with 93 sub-categories (a single image can appear in multiple sub-categories), and there is a search function as well.

On with the show.

If you’ve heard of Roswell, New Mexico, it’s probably as the site where back in 1947 aliens allegedly had a mishap with a flying saucer that was subsequently hushed up the Government. Were these extraterrestrials touring sites of significance in the Earthlings’ brief history of  space exploration and in particular paying their respects to Dr. Robert H. Goddard, an early rocketry pioneer?

Here he is, driving  a Model A Ford truck in the vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico, some time between 1930 and 1932.GPN-2000-001693

And watching launches from the mission control shack.










Next, I could not resist including this 1952 picture simply because the caption seems so odd. The caption:

X-4 program with what Langley engineers euphemistically called “Female Computer” support personnel.

“Euphemistically”? The picture:


The title of the  photo below from March 1964 is “Female Computer.”  The description reads:

Melba Roy heads the group of NASA mathematicians, known as “computers,” who track the Echo satellites. Roy’s computations help produce the orbital element timetables by which millions can view the satellite from Earth as it passes overhead.GPN-2000-001647

 And finally, a non-human, sexless computer from 1949, an “analog computing machine” used in the Engine Research Building at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, Cleveland, Ohio.GPN-2000-000354


NASA Reference Numbers for credits: Goddard 74-H-1210, 74-H-1245,   74-H-1223.
Computers L-74768, 64-H-2487, C1949-24357

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