Earthrise

Earthrise

[urth-rahyz]
For the upcoming MMORPG see Earthrise (video game). For other uses, see Earthrise (disambiguation).

Earthrise is the name given to NASA image AS8-14-2383, taken by astronaut William Anders during the historic Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to the Moon. The photograph was taken from lunar orbit on December 24, 1968; Apollo 8 did not actually land on the moon. The noted wilderness photographer Galen Rowell called it "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken..

The earthrise that could be witnessed from the surface of the Moon is quite unlike sunrises on Earth. Because the Moon is tidally locked with the Earth, one side of the Moon always faces toward Earth. Naive interpretation of this fact would lead one to believe that the Earth's position is fixed on the lunar sky and no earthrises can occur. However, the Moon librates slightly, which causes the Earth to draw a Lissajous figure on the sky. This figure fits inside a rectangle 15°48' wide and 13°20' high (in angular dimensions), while the angular diameter of the Earth as seen from Moon is only about 2°. This means that earthrises are visible near the edge of the Earth-observable surface of the Moon (about 20% of the surface). Since a full libration cycle takes about 27 days, earthrises are very slow - it takes about 48 hours for Earth to clear its diameter. During the course of the month-long lunar orbit, an observer would additionally witness a succession of "Earth phases", much like the lunar phases seen from Earth. That is what accounts for the half-illuminated globe seen in the photograph.

In 1969, the US Postal Service issued a stamp (Scott # 1371) commemorating the Apollo 8 flight around the moon. The stamp featured a detail of the Earthrise photograph, and the words, "In the beginning God...", recalling the Apollo 8 Genesis reading.

"Earthrise" video

On April 6, 2008 (Japan Standard Time), the first 1080p high-definition Earthrise video was captured, both a full Earthrise and Earthset video, by the JAXA lunar orbiter mission, Kaguya ("Selene"). It is currently orbiting at a lunar altitude of 100 km (62 miles), about 380,000 km (237,500 miles) from Earth.

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