Earthrise, Then and Now

On Decem­ber 24, 1968, astro­nauts aboard Apol­lo 8, mak­ing the first human trip around the moon, stum­bled upon a most beau­ti­ful scene – an “Earth­rise.” Almost 40 years lat­er (in 2007), Japan’s Kaguya satel­lite cap­tured footage of the same scene unfold­ing: an Earth­rise and also this time an Earth­set. If you click on the pre­ced­ing links, you will see some pret­ty won­der­ful still shots in HD.

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Comments (3)
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  • I’m not sure I under­stand this pho­to. It would seem as though the moon turns, but I thought the same hemi­sphere of the moon always faced the earth: if you’re on the back side of the moon, you don’t ever see the earth, if you’re on the earth side, you ALWAYS see the earth. (The earth, of course, rotates, so we see the moon rise and set.)

    What’s going on here?

  • Mike says:

    It’s true, the Moon spins around its axis at the same rate it orbits the Earth. So an observ­er fixed to the sur­face of the Moon would (assum­ing he’s on our side of the Moon, of course) see Earth in the same place all the time. The rea­son the Earth appears to “rise” in these images is because Apol­lo 8 and Kaguya were them­selves trav­el­ing around the Moon. (if you look close­ly at the footage above you’ll see the sur­face of the Moon rolling under­neath the cam­era.) Here’s an inter­est­ing page with more infor­ma­tion:

  • Faupel says:

    it’s not that the earth is LITERALLY ris­ing on the moons hori­zon i don’t think. in the Apol­lo mis­sion, they were round­ing the earth and only had 2 min­utes of the sight upon the 4th orbit of the moon. I think it was that THEY were orbit­ing the moon, and it just looked like an earth­rise because of how they were com­ing around the moon

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