Saturday, December 24, 2011

Earthrise: A Christmas Postcard from Apollo 8


It's not Christmas Day yet, but this fantastic image is fit be shared on any season or occasion, although it has more weight on this day. The picture, called Earthrise, is by itself breathtaking enough to be featured on this blog, but it's doubly special because of the occasion on which it was taken by the crew of Apollo 8.

Earthrise was photographed by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968. The crew was supposed to orbit the Moon as part of its mission (which it did ten times), but with all the planning and monitoring that went into the mission, they didn't expect the scene that would greet them as they made their turn out of the darkness of the Moon.

As the spacecraft made its turn, the astronauts were greeted by the bright, blue Earth against the grey horizon of the Moon and the black emptiness of Space, prompting mission commander Frank Borman to exclaim, "Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty." While Command Module Pilot James Lovell steered the spacecraft, Borman and Anders took several black-and-white and color photos of the scene unfolding before their eyes, but it was Anders' color shot that became the definitive Earthrise. Later on, the crew would give their Christmas Eve broadcast, watched or heard by a billion humans back on their home planet.

The original image shows the Earth peeking out to the left of the Moon's horizon on the right (as can be seen below). This was the view that greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts on that fateful day. The more popular picture, however, shows the Earthrise in the landscape position (as can be seen in the header photo above).


To all blog readers, Merry Christmas! Or if you prefer, Happy Holidays! Or if you're not into that kind of stuff, have a great weekend! More information on the Earthrise image can be found on the Great Images of NASA website and NASA multimedia page. You can also listen to the original broadcast (mp3 link) of the Apollo 8 crew as they made this historic Christmas Eve postcard image.

29 comments:

Javier said...

So cool!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Breathtaking. I really have no words for what seeing those images makes me feel. Thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas!

R said...

Looks great!

GT said...

Awesome!

Fang said...

Happy holidays, Jay!

Kingmush said...

That is a great picture!

D4 said...

Merry Christmas. This.. is stunning. I just stared for a good minute. Beautiful.

Bart said...

i wish i could to space

Reilly said...

looks amazing

Interwebs Fails said...

Happy Holidays!

Zack said...

This photograph is pretty amazing.

ed said...

i just blue myself looking at that

Kid Shuffle said...

cool photos as usual, my friend.

merry christmas!

T. Roger Thomas said...

THat is an amazing sight

princy gupta said...

looking nice.....

Bart said...

cause they are awesome!

Michael said...

Stunning. Just stunning. The pitch-black all around Earth looks a bit frightening. Great blog. +Followed

DWei said...

I think I have that as a wallpaper somewhere.

A Heel in Mint said...

They are out of this world. Just amazing!! :)

ironchefman said...

Man, I absolutely love astronomy shots. The humbling perspective is so awesome. The Pale Blue Dot, and Carl Sagan's piece on it, is a great example of how moving it can be. Wish I could shoot a view like that one day (from the moon, I mean, not from where the Pale Blue Dot was taken)!

Bersercules said...

Very beautiful! I live there!

Damon said...

what a great picture god great post

Your Face said...

Wow, awesome pic!

MRanthrope said...

that's Santa's view of Earth when he returns to his moon base (for his top secret cache of expensive presents....duh)

Dale said...

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you too. I think that's cool they weren't expecting to have that scene. Definitely better than being disappointed, but I don't see how that could happen when you're up in space. Thanks for sharing these pics

~Dale

r.alsharif said...

These were super cool, specially the last one! Happy New Year Jay! :D

Chick Flick Journal said...

wow now this is AMAZING!

Copper Garden said...

All the images on here are so good, it makes me look forward to your next post aha!

Jess
coppergarden.blogspot.com
xx

Labor Posters said...

Tough if it's so lonely to view but it's a postcard and I'm happy about it and i didn't expect to create something like that.

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