Happy Earth Day: Earthrise

One of the most famous aspects of the Apollo 8 flight was the Earthrise picture that was taken as they came around for their fourth orbit of the Moon. This was the first time that humans had taken such a picture whilst actually behind the camera, and it has been credited with a role in inspiring the first Earth Day in 1970. It was selected as the first of Life magazine’s ‘hundred photos that changed the world’.

Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968, showing the Earth seemingly rising above the lunar surface. Note that this phenomenon is only visible from someone in orbit around the Moon. Because of the Moon’s synchronous rotation about the Earth (i.e., the same side of the Moon is always facing the Earth), no Earthrise can be observed by a stationary observer on the surface of the Moon.