Earthrise: The 45th Anniversary

This is very Cool. My friend and colleague Andy Chaikin has narrated this account of how the astronauts of Apollo 8 in December 1968 took the famous “Earthrise” photograph that is one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. This visualization tells the story of how astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders saw the Earth rising above the Moon’s horizon and took this image.

Using photo mosaics and elevation data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), this video commemorates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic flight by recreating the moment when the crew first saw and photographed the Earth rising from behind the Moon. Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon, tells the story.

As the web site notes: “The visualization draws on numerous historical sources, including the actual cloud pattern on Earth from the ESSA-7 satellite and dozens of photographs taken by Apollo 8, and it reveals new, historically significant information about the Earthrise photographs. It has not been widely known, for example, that the spacecraft was rolling when the photos were taken, and that it was this roll that brought the Earth into view. The visualization establishes the precise timing of the roll and, for the first time ever, identifies which window each photograph was taken from.

The key to the new work is a set of vertical stereo photographs taken by a camera mounted in the Command Module’s rendezvous window and pointing straight down onto the lunar surface. It automatically photographed the surface every 20 seconds. By registering each photograph to a model of the terrain based on LRO data, the orientation of the spacecraft can be precisely determined.” Enjoy!

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

This entry was posted in Apollo, History, Lunar Exploration, Space and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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