35 Stunning Hi-Res "Public Domain" Astronomy Images

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Back in 2009, in the wake of Shepard Fairey's debacle with the AP over the rights to the image he used as reference/inspiration for his wildly popular Obama poster, it made me want to share a list of Public Domain Licensed images, in this case, astronomy. Fairey's situation should hit home with all pixel junkies out there and remind us that we have to pay close attention to the licenses associated with the images we use in our design work. I've compiled a list of beautiful, inspiring astronomy images that all have a Public Domain License.

When it comes to the small specific details, high-resolution images are always in demand. Every industry needs the high-resolution images to discover and take the in-depth analysis of the emerging trends. These high-resolution images offer us to draw a comparison, do analysis on minute details and do much more with the different minute details. These high-resolution images are colorful, offer a high degree of contrast between the similar colors and each small detail can be differentiated easily and clearly. The textures extracted from these images can be used in different applications of photography. These pictures hold a huge value in the world of astronomy as they can be used to predict the future of earth and other planets in terms of geographical and ecosystem variations. They can also be used to present the present situation of the ecosystem and environment. All of these images have been shot with adequate light, perfect placement, quality resolution and at the most appropriate time of the day. So, you can consider these images as the masterpiece in all aspects.

Astronomy intrigues me. I'm a regular APOD surfer. I love reading about space, and the images of the universe, I find inspiring. Here's a list of “Public Domain” astronomy images that I put together, all of which I found on Wikimedia. If you aren't familiar with Wikimedia, it doesn't have a stellar (pun intended) selection, but it's a very good source of Public Domain and GNU licensed images. So here we go, let's start off the list with none other than our very own blue marble.


Full resolution: 3,000 × 3,075 pixels

This image is surreal to me. Since I've obviously not been to space, it's hard to imagine that this is really what our planet looks like! I love how clear and pristine the visible continents are. This is one of the most popular images of the outlook view of earth and we will have pretty much more to discover on the other side of the globe.

Photo of the earth 1

Full resolution: 2,048 × 2,048 pixels

Photo of the earth 2

Full resolution: 2,048 × 2,048 pixels

Photo of the earth 3

Full resolution: 3,000 × 3,002 pixels

Photo of the earth 4

Full resolution: 1,696 × 2,074 pixels

You never realize how big (or small) something is until you see it compared to another thing. In this high-res picture of Earth and the moon, it's clear that Earth is huge in comparison. (Earth weighs 81 times more than the moon, to be exact.)

Photo of the Earth 5.

Full resolution: 2,458 × 2,458 pixels

Photo of the earth 6

Full resolution: 2,400 × 2,400 pixels

Photo of the earth 7

The Moon

Full resolution: 1,280 × 978 pixels

Photo of the moon 1

Full resolution: 2,560 × 1,920 pixels

Photo of the moon 2

Full resolution: 1,986 × 1,986 pixels

I love how many textures are visible in the picture of the moon. I've always pictured the moon to just be a cratered, white, round thing – but this awesome image shows the many textures, colors, and details of the moon. This image brings in a lot of curiosity to the astronomy professionals and common people because this image has got so much to reveal to the audience.

Photo of the moon 3


Full resolution: 2,000 × 2,000 pixels

Photo of Mars 1

Full resolution: 1,552 × 1,552 pixels

Like in the picture above, I've always pictured Mars to have a true red color. In the image below, Mars isn't red! In this picture, there are channels on Mars that run up to 3000km long and 8km deep.

Photo of Mars 2

Mars' moon Phobos

Full resolution: 3,374 × 3,300 pixels

I love this distinct shape of Phobos. It's large craters and not-so-round overall shape makes it really stand out. This is a really awesome picture. The border lines of the globe are clearly visible and every detail on the lateral side of the globe is also clearly defined.

Photo of Mars' moon


With all three of these images of Saturn, I have to say, don't even look real to me. That's what is so mesmerizing about these gorgeous pictures of Saturn. Some images are so beautiful and captured precisely that they do not even look to be the real ones.

Full resolution: 2,766 × 1,364 pixels

Photo of Saturn 1

Full resolution: 4,000 × 2,527 pixels

Photo of Saturn 2

Full resolution: 8,888 × 4,544 pixels

Photo of Saturn 3

Saturn's moon Rhea

Full resolution: 4,920 × 4,820 pixels

Photo of Saturn's moon Rhea


Full resolution: 4,096 × 4,096 pixels

I absolutely love the coloring of Venus. The dark amber spots and different textures really stand out in this high-res photo.



Full resolution: 2,260 × 3,207 pixels

I think this may be one of my favorite pictures in this post. The many colors of Jupiter in this picture almost look they have a watercolor-like feel to them.



Similar to what I said about the images in this post about Saturn, these pictures of galaxies are so gorgeous, they hardly seem real. I love looking through each one of these high-resolution galaxy images.

Full resolution: 6,200 × 6,200 pixels

Galaxies 1

Full resolution: 1,730 × 1,428 pixels

Galaxies 2

Full resolution: 5,302 × 3,805 pixels

Galaxies 3

Full resolution: 4,014 × 3,865 pixels

Galaxies 4

Full resolution: 3,000 × 2,016 pixels

Galaxies 5

Full resolution: 6,637 × 3,787 pixels

Galaxies 6

Full resolution: 6,000 × 4,690 pixels

Galaxies 7

Full resolution: 3,915 × 3,885 pixels

Galaxies 8

Full resolution: 11,472 × 6,429 pixels

Galaxies 9

Full resolution: 8,952 × 6,213 pixels

Galaxies 10


Full resolution: 3,601 × 4,004 pixels

Nebulae 1

Full resolution: 4,806 × 3,364 pixels

All of the colors in this picture of the Orion Nebula are breathtaking. This photo was taken in 1976 by the Hubble Space Telescope – how cool is that?!

Nebulae 2

Full resolution: 3,182 × 1,282 pixels

Nebulae 3

Full resolution: 18,000 × 18,000 pixels

Nebulae 4

These astronomy images can prove to be a useful resource for all the aspiring astronomy students. These images may seem to blur when magnified but they can offer a huge value when magnified with any telescopic device.

I hope you've enjoyed browsing through each one of these out-of-this-world public domain astronomy images. This is a post I could scroll through every day – feel free to do the same!