See the Apollo 8 “Earthrise” in a Whole New Way

One of the most famous images from the history of spaceflight is the picture taken by the crew of Apollo 8 of the “Earthrise” — the first color picture of taken of Earth as it became visible as the spacecraft came from behind the farside of the Moon. The photo was taken 45 years ago on December 24, 1968. It’s been called one of the most influential environmental photographs ever taken, and is one of the most-published pictures ever. As the photographer of this photo, astronaut Bill Anders has said, “We came all this way to discover the Moon. And what we really did discover is Earth.”

The NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio has now released a new video that is a re-creation of that first Earthrise. The video is based on detailed analysis of Apollo 8 photography, including vertical stereo photos that were being taken at the same time as the Earthrise photos, combined with recent topographic models from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

“In the video,” space historian Andrew Chaikin — who narrates the new video — told Universe Today, “we see the Moon’s surface, generated from LRO data, exactly as it appeared to the astronauts through the different windows of the spacecraft. We also hear the astronauts’ voices as captured by the spacecraft’s onboard voice recorder, synchronized with the visual. The video reveals new details about this historic event and the resulting color photograph, which became an icon of the 20th century.”

Enjoy this wonderful new video, which explains how this historic image was taken. The visualization shows how Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and crew members Anders and James Lovell worked together to photograph the stunning scene as their spacecraft orbited the Moon in 1968. The video allows anyone to virtually ride with the astronauts and experience the awe they felt at the vista in front of them.

The “Earthrise” photo is the cover photo of TIME’s Great Images of the 20th Century, and is the central photo on the cover of LIFE’s 100 Photographs That Changed the World.

“Earthrise had a profound impact on our attitudes toward our home planet, quickly becoming an icon of the environmental movement,” said Ernie Wright, who lead the video project with the SVS.

You can read more details of how the video was put together in this NASA press release.

A computer-generated visualization of the Apollo 8 spacecraft in orbit around the moon, with Earth rising over the horizon.
Image Credit:
Ernie Wright/NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

Recent Posts

The Milky Way’s History is Written in Streams of Stars

The Milky Way is ancient and massive, a collection of hundreds of billions of stars,…

5 hours ago

The Current Mars Sample Return Mission isn’t Going to Work. NASA is Going Back to the Drawing Board

Hmmm spaceflight is not the easiest of enterprises. NASA have let us know that their…

11 hours ago

Peter Higgs Dies at 94

Just like Isaac Newton, Galileo and Albert Einstein, I’m not sure exactly when I became…

14 hours ago

More Views of the 2024 Eclipse, from the Moon and Earth Orbit

It's been just over a week since millions of people flocked to places across North…

20 hours ago

Baby Stars Discharge “Sneezes” of Gas and Dust

I’m really not sure what to call it but a ‘dusty sneeze’ is probably as…

1 day ago

How Did Pluto Get Its Heart? Scientists Suggest an Answer

The most recognizable feature on Pluto is its "heart," a relatively bright valentine-shaped area known…

1 day ago