Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2008 November 18
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Restored: First Image of the Earth from the Moon

Explanation: Pictured above is the first image ever taken of the Earth from the Moon. The image was taken in 1966 by Lunar Orbiter 1 and heralded by then-journalists as the Image of the Century. It was taken about two years before the Apollo 8 crew snapped its more famous color cousin. Recently, modern technology has allowed the recovery of higher resolution images from old data sources such as Lunar Orbiter tapes than ever before. Specifically, recovery of the above image was initiated 20 years ago by Nancy Evans, and completed recently by Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing who lead the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project. Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project. Images like that above carry more than aesthetic value -- comparison to recent high definition images of the Moon enables investigations into how the Moon has been changing.

Tomorrow's picture: red, blue, and saturn

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