Earthrise, the first ever witnessed by human eyes, Apollo 8, December 1968

Earthrise, the first ever witnessed by human eyes, Apollo 8, December 1968


Credit: William Anders
Vintage chromogenic print, 20.2 x 25.4 cm
[NASA AS8-14-2383]

William Anders spoke the words from Genesis as the photograph was taken: 
In the beginning God created
the Heaven and the Earth,
And the Earth was without
form, and Void...

[Caption] The rising Earth is about five degrees above the lunar horizon in this telephoto view taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft near 110 degrees east longitude. The horizon, about 570 kilometres (350 statue miles) from the spacecraft, is near the eastern limb of the moon as viewed from the Earth. Width of view at the horizon is about 150 kilometres (95 statute miles). On Earth the sunset terminator crosses Africa. The south pole is in the white area near the left end of the terminator. North and South America are under clouds. The lunar surface probably has less pronounced colour than indicated in this print. 

The celebrated view of planet Earth appearing over the bleached lunar horizon. 'There was nothing in the plan for an Earthrise photo. Indeed, we didn’t even see an actual Earthrise until, on our third orbit, we changed the spacecraft’s orientation to heads up and looking forward. As we came round the back side of the moon, where I had been taking pictures of craters near our orbital track, I looked up and saw the startlingly beautiful sight of our home planet “rising” up above the stark and battered lunar horizon. It was the only color against the deep blackness of space. In short, it was beautiful, and clearly delicate.' William Anders.

Condition: There are finger prints in the black emulsion of the sky along the top edge - a result of being handled by the technician who produced them at the time. Some later finger prints are visible along the side edges of the print. There are also irregular creases in the middle of the image visible only in a raking light. There are one or two further minor abrasions visible only in a raking light. The colours are rich and deep, while all corners and edges are sharp.

About the Apollo 8 mission here


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