Monday, December 24, 2018

T'was The Night Before Christmas

Fifty years ago on December 24, 1968 this photo was taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to orbit the moon. It became known as the Earthrise photo. There is an audio recording of the sighting and Wikipedia posted this lovely excerpt:
Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There's the Earth coming up. Wow, that's pretty.
Borman: Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled. (joking)
Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim?
            Hand me that roll of color quick, would you...
Lovell: Oh man, that's great!
Yes, that really is great! It's quite a view of our planet, isn't it. These days when so many people can hardly see the stars at night it seems more important than ever to recognize we are on this revolving earth in a solar system, in a universe so vast it truly defies our grasp of it. I think we need to see ourselves like this all the time. Forget walls and boundaries. This is us. This is all we are. We need to remember.

This is why I run outside all the time to photograph sun and moon rises. It's small reminder of this. The true gift, life on a planet whirling through the universe. This is all we are.

T'was the night before Christmas. I hope the stars are shining where you are.

20 comments:

  1. Your comment about walls and boundaries strikes me as especially true. We all focus way too much on walls and boundaries, whether literal, physical ones or those of ethnicity and identity. I'm sure some people would argue that's easy for me to say as a white man (albeit a gay one) but I am continually frustrated that we can't set aside our imaginary lines and live with each other more communally.

    I've always loved that "Earthrise" photo and one of my favorite postage stamps of all time (yes, I do have some!) is the USA stamp from the late 1960s using this image.

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    1. Steve-- It is so cool that you still have that Earthrise stamp. I love that!

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  2. There's a digitized version of first pic of earthrise that Astronomy Picture of the Day just posted on FB. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html?fbclid=IwAR0gXg-wzbn-7xvu0HFNgJWV-u414x8lgS8y8EfzoY9_nLaz8EcnMhU4l34

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    1. Barbara-- Thank you for that link. Much appreciated.

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  3. I will never forget the skies we saw when I was a kid in the 40's away out in the boonies. We played out at night often and we often stopped and watched the sky.

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    1. Red-- I never remember the night sky from when I was young. I wish I had lived someplace where it was a part of our true earth/sky landscape.

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  4. We really do live on a draw droppingly beautiful planet. If we can only keep it that way and not let greed destroy it.
    I kind of miss my property in Florida where no lights obscured the sky. Here even just the security light blots out much of the stars.
    Have a wonderful season robin and roger and may 2019 be splendid.

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    1. Patti-- I worry about greed destroying our beautiful planet. I hope there is time to save it. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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  5. How very sweet - thanks for the reminder Robin :)

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  6. It truly is a beautiful sight.

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  7. It was a perfect ending to a most horrendous year. I remember it well.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- 1968 was the year that changed everything. This photo was truly the perfectly beautiful ending.

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  8. Beautiful photo and a great post, Robin. Here's to more "tear down this wall" speeches by a true American president!

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    1. Catalyst-- It's nice to remember we all actually live on that beautiful blue marble.

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  9. No stars here, too much ambient light in the city at night, but oh, what a beautiful and delicate blue marble we are in an inky universe. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. 37paddington-- Yes, that blue marble is all we have. It's quite a planet, isn't it! When I put this post up, I had no idea all the big newspapers were going to run such great stories. What a golden anniversary it was.

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  10. I just love everything about this post. Thanks Robin.

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