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What's This?

The Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year is a competition that was first held in 2006. It aims to identify the best freely licensed images from those that during the year have been awarded Featured picture status. All of these images are freely licensed, so they are like free gifts for the world to enjoy.

Here are the pictures that became winners of the 10th annual photo competition on Commons.

Photo of the Year

Pluto seen from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft

Photograph by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface sports a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode. The image resolves details and colors on scales as small as 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers). The viewer is encouraged to zoom in on the image on a larger screen to fully appreciate the complexity of Pluto’s surface features.

Second Place

View of the interior of Nasir ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz

Photograph by Ayyoubsabawiki

A view of the interior of Nasir ol Molk Mosque located in Shiraz. The mosque includes extensive colored glass in its facade that make beautiful colors when light is passed through them and is reflected on the carpets.

Third Place

Milky Way lying above a lady, California

Photograph by Ian Norman

Milky Way lying above a lady’s silhouette, at Trona Pinnacles National Landmark, California.

Fourth Place

The Long Room of the Old Library, Trinity College Dublin

Photograph by DAVID ILIFF

The Long Room of the Old Library, Trinity College Dublin

Fifth Place

Sunset view from the back of a waterfall, Iceland

Photograph by Diego Delso

Sunset view from the back of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Suðurland, Iceland. The waterfall of the river Seljalandsá drops 60 metres (200 ft) over the cliffs of the former coastline.

Sixth Place

Pillars of creation

Photograph by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the so-called Pillars of Creation is utterly sublime. Each one of these pillars of cosmic dust and stars is about five light-years in height. Astronomers combined several Hubble exposures to assemble the wider view. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. The new image was taken with Hubble’s versatile and sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3.

Seventh Place

Port and lighthouse overnight storm with lightning in Port-la-Nouvelle, France.

Photograph by Maxime Raynal

Port and lighthouse overnight storm with lightning in Port-la-Nouvelle in the Aude department in southern France.

Eighth Place

Macaca fuscata juvenile yawning, Nagano, Japan

Photograph by Daisuke Tashiro

Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) juvenile yawning at Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano, Japan.

Ninth Place

Sunrise with Paraná pines, Serra da Bocaina National Park, Brazil

Photograph by Heris Luiz Cordeiro Rocha

Sunrise with Paraná pines (Araucaria angustifolia) as seen at the Serra da Bocaina National Park, Brazil.

Tenth Place

Rådhuset metro station, Stockholm

Photograph by Arild Vågen

Rådhuset metro station, Stockholm. East entrance/exit.

Eleventh Place

Las Lajas Sanctuary church, Nariño, Colombia

Photograph by Diego Delso

Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales, Colombia. The place is a popular pilgrimage location since the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1754. The first shrine was built by 1750 and was replaced by a bigger one in 1802 including a bridge over the canyon of the Guáitara River. The present temple, of Gothic Revival style, was built between 1916 and 1949.

Twelfth Place

Air to air image of a Spitfire, taken over RAF Coningsby

Photograph by SAC Scott Lewis/MOD

The Spitfire is the pride of the RAF and a true symbol of British patriotism and aviation excellence. This rare shot gives you a feeling of what it must be like to have this devastating beauty on your tail.

More info: Picture of The Year