26 January 2012

A New Image of Our Lonely Speck In The Great Enveloping Cosmic Dark

Posted by Dan Satterfield

You are here. This is a small version of the new NASA "Blue Marble" image.


The Apollo 17 blue marble image from 1972. Can you guess the month it was taken?? Hint-look way south.

NASA has used the new NPP Satellite to produce a new “Blue Marble” image that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The NPP was launched back in October and I wrote about it then here. The fist Blue Marble image of Earth was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on the way to the Moon in 1972. I like to show this image to students and ask them to tell me what time of year the picture was taken! Many will complain there is o date, but you really do not need one to get within about 4-6 weeks.

This new image is made up of a bunch of individual swaths of images as it passed over the Earth at an altitude of 512 miles on 4 January, 2012. The image above is just a low res view, and to get the jaw drooping view you need to download the 17 megabyte image. I am talking 8,000 by 8,000 pixels here, and unless you have a high-speed connection on a newer computer it may be too much for your system.

I have put the full image in a directory for you to download here:


Oh, and a credit for the title of this post goes to Carl Sagan of course. Images like this always make me think of his Pale Blue Dot.