More memorable images of Earth afloat in the cosmos

The image that got it all started. Called Earthrise, it was taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders from lunar orbit on December 24, 1968. Credit: NASA

Years before Earth’s photo shoot last week from Saturn and Mercury, our planet was the darling of earlier space probes. Images from Voyager 1 (1977, 1990), Galileo (1992), an earlier Mercury MESSENGER flyby (2005), the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya (2007)EPOXI (2008) and the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity come to mind. Not to mention the iconic imagery of our blue globe floating above the barren moon shot by the Apollo astronauts from 1969 to 1972.

Inspired by yesterday’s quick turnaround of fresh photos taken from deep space, here are a few others for you to enjoy … for old times’ sake. Clicking any image will take you to a larger version:

Earth and moon shot by the high resolution camera (like a small telescope) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on October 3, 2007. Clouds dominate the Earth but the western coastline of South America at at lower right. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Earth rises over the rugged limb of the moon in this HDTV video still made by the Japanese Kaguya lunar orbiter in November 2007. Credit: JAXA / NHK

Venus and Earth in the evening twilight photographed by the Spirit Rover on June 26, 2009 from Gusev Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA (colorized by Bob King)

On December 16, 1992 the Galileo spacecraft en route to Jupiter looked back from a distance of 3.9 million miles (6.2 million km) and took this photo of Earth and moon. The color contrast is stark! Credit: NASA / JPL

A unique south pole perspective on both Earth and moon photographed on January 23, 1998 by the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft as it swung by Earth on its way to the asteroid 433 Eros. The craft was only 250,000 miles (400,000 km) from Earth at the time. Credit: NASA

In preparation for a future flyby of Earth on its way to insertion into orbit around Mercury the MESSENGER spacecraft took this photo of the Earth-moon system from a distance of 18.4 million miles (29.6 million km) on May 11, 2005. Credit: NASA

Four images from a sequence of photos taken by the Deep Impact spacecraft when it was 31 million miles (50 million km) from the Earth. Africa is at right. Notice how much darker the moon is compared to Earth. It reflects only as much light as a fresh asphalt road. Credit: Donald J. Lindler, Sigma Space Corporation, GSFC, Univ. Maryland, EPOCh/DIXI Science Teams

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

5 thoughts on “More memorable images of Earth afloat in the cosmos

  1. Even before the iconic 1990 photograph, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took the first photograph of earth and moon together in a single frame two weeks after launch on September 18, 1977.

  2. A lovely collection of photos of our Home Planet seen from a distance, thanks for sharing them; The amount of detail seen by the cameras of those probes is amazing.
    Greetings from Stuttgart, Germany
    Stephan

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