Behold: a stunning image of our own shaded planet taken 49 years ago. To wit:
From the unfamiliar perspective, the Earth is small and, like a telescopic image of a distant planet, the entire horizon is completely within the field of view. Enjoyed by crews on board the International Space Station, only much closer views of the planet are possible from low Earth orbit. Orbiting the planet once every 90 minutes, a spectacle of clouds, oceans, and continents scrolls beneath them with the partial arc of the planet’s edge in the distance. But this digitally restored image presents a view so far only achieved by 24 humans, Apollo astronauts who traveled to the Moon and back again between 1968 and 1972. The original photograph, AS17-152-23420, was taken by the homeward bound crew of Apollo 17, on December 17, 1972. For now it’s the last picture of Earth from this planetary perspective taken by human hands.
What’s this curious little Mars-like planet? Well, it’s not Mars, but that’s there too. To wit:
In a digitally stitched little planet projection, the 360 degree mosaic was captured near San Pedro in the Chilean Atacama desert. Telescopes in domes on the horizon are taking advantage of the arid region’s famously dark, clear nights. Taken in early December, a magnificent Milky Way arcs above the horizon for almost 180 degrees around the little planet with Orion prominent in the southern sky. A familiar constellation upside down for northern hemisphere skygazers, Orion shares that southern December night almost opposite the Large and Small Magellanic clouds. But the Red Planet itself is the brightest yellowish celestial beacon in this little planet sky.
Most of the world maps you’ve seen in your life are past their prime. The Mercator was devised by a Flemish cartographer in 1569. The Winkel Tripel, the map style favored by National Geographic, dates to 1921. And the Dymaxion map, hyped by the architect Buckminster Fuller, debuted in a 1943 issue of Life.
Enter: a brash new world map vying for global domination.
An animation showing the 1.255 light second distance between us and the moon (the Sun is about 8 light minutes from us) created by planetary scientist Dr. James O’Donoghue using NASA imagery. and that’s not all. To wit:
This is the distance between the Earth and Moon with the correct sizes and scales. The real-time speed of light is also shown.