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.

October 13, 1996
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The Earth Also Rises
Credit: The Lunar Orbiter Project, NASA

Explanation: The Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft was launched in 1966 to map the lunar surface in preparation for the Apollo moon landings. NASA's plucky robotic explorer performed its job well and pioneered this classic view of the Earth poised above the lunar horizon. The first humans to directly witness a similar scene were the Apollo 8 astronauts. As they orbited the Moon in December of 1968 they also recorded Earth rise in a photograph that was to become one of the most famous images in history - a moving portrait of our world from deep space.

Tomorrow's picture: Bright Stars, Dim Galaxy

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC