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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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