Earth as ‘Pale Blue Dot’
NASA image acquired February 14, 1990
On September 5, 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket. Thirty-five years later, the planetary probe is now an interstellar traveler, having traveled farther from Earth than any manmade object in history. As of 21:00 Universal Time on September 4, 2012, Voyager 1 was 18.21 billion kilometers (11.31 billion miles) from home, or 121 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Light takes 33 hours and 44 minutes to travel the distance from the Sun to Voyager 1 and back.
This image is often referred to as “the Pale Blue Dot” image and was acquired on February 14, 1990, when the spacecraft was 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) from Earth and 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. Earth is a mere point of light, just 0.12 pixels (picture elements) in size when viewed from that distance. The fuzzy light in the images is scattered sunlight because Earth was very close to the Sun (from the perspective of Voyager). The image was part of a series of 60 images collected to make the first-ever mosaic portrait of our solar system.
NASA JPL Planetary Photojournal images PIA01967 and PIA00452. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.
Instrument: Voyager #palebluedot #nasagoddard #earth #science