Iconic Images of Earth from Space
Blue Marble: NASA has produced several Blue Marble images. The original, taken by the crew of Apollo 17, shows the Eastern Hemisphere and is thought to be one of the most famous and widely distributed images of Earth ever. Above-left, one of the most recent Blue Marble images was created by stitching together satellite imagery and reveals the Western Hemisphere in all its glory. The first pictures from space were not nearly as routine as the Blue Marbles are now.
1. A “Blue Marble” image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on Jan. 4, 2012.
First Picture of Earth and Moon in Single Frame: It was incredible to see Earth from deep space for the first time. It was yet another amazing experience to see both our world and its moon suspended in the black void together for the first time. That feat was accomplished by Voyager 1 on its way to the outer planets.
2. This NASA picture of the Earth and the moon in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded Sept. 18, 1977, by Voyager 1 when it was 7.25 million miles (11.66 million kilometers) from Earth. The moon (top) is beyond the Earth as viewed by the space probe. Because the Earth much brighter than the moon, the moon was artificially brightened by a factor of three by computer enhancement so that both bodies would show clearly in the image.
Earthrise: Imagine coming around the moon in a spaceship, looking out the window, and being the first humans to see your own planet rise. This iconic image of the Earth rising, popularly called the “Earthrise” picture, is the first of its kind taken by an astronaut from lunar orbit.
3. This view of the rising Earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn. The photo is displayed here in its original orientation, though it is more commonly viewed with the lunar surface at the bottom of the photo. Earth is about five degrees left of the horizon in the photo. The unnamed surface features on the left are near the eastern limb of the moon as viewed from Earth. The lunar horizon is approximately 780 kilometers from the spacecraft. The height of the photographed area at the lunar horizon is about 175 kilometers.
Moonrise from Earth Orbit: The horizon is tilted and seems far away. The moon appears to float on Earth’s atmosphere. It’s one of many incredible views that can come only from space, yet by name it’s totally familiar: a moonrise.
4. A quarter moon rises above Earth’s horizon and above the airglow of our atmosphere. The image was made with a digital still camera on the final mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Columbia’s crew was killed on Feb. 1, 2003, when the shuttle broke up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.