EARTHRISE: “And From the Crew of Apollo 8, We Close, With Good Night, Good Luck, a Merry Christmas, and God Bless All of You, All of You on the Good Earth”
Photo Credit: NASA Photo AS08-14-2383 EARTHRISE by Bill Anders, Apollo 8: CLICK for full size photo and look below for links, information and videos.
45 years ago today (December 24, 1968) the astronauts of Apollo 8 (Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Jim Lovell) took one of the most famous photos the world has ever known. The utterly stunned astronauts who were in the process of beginning their 4th orbit of the Moon busy with mission tasks noticed Earth, our home, the Pale Blue Dot rising up over the dull dreary grey landscape of the lunar surface. In the process Bill Anders snapped this photo: official designation is AS08-14-2383.
Though there were quite a few Earthrise photos taken during that sequence and on subsequent Moon missions, most don’t realize that the very first Earthrise photo was in black and white by Frank Borman. As soon as he saw the moment he started snapping away which is why his black & white Earthrise photo shows the Earth’s terminator touching the Moon’s horizon and the color shot shows the Earth much further “up”. I will post the original black and white photo on my Twitter account if you want to check it out (DanSpace77).
Yet another aspect to the Earthrise photo is orientation. It wouldn’t be much of an Earthrise if the Earth isn’t coming up over the horizon right? So that’s what happened, the photo was reoriented to look more like an Earthrise but the astronauts describe the moment as the Moon’s horizon being vertical with the Earth to the left of it.
And of course who doesn’t remember the Christmas Message as the three astronauts took turns reading from the Book of Genesis.
“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'”
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
“‘And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.’
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”
How the Earthrise photos went down: http://www.abc.net.au/science/moon/earthrise.htm
The original color Earthrise photo: NASA Photo AS08-14-2383: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=14&frame=2383
The original color Earthrise photo: NASA Photo AS08-14-2383: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/apollo/apollo8/html/as08-14-2383.html
The original color Earthrise photo: NASA Photo AS08-14-2383: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/luceneweb/caption_direct.jsp?photoId=AS08-14-2383
Earthrise 45th anniversary re-creation:
Apollo 8 Christmas Message: