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How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the disposable-camera-off-the-shelf dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts saw the Earth rising over the limb of the Moon. The photo they took of this moment — dubbed Earthrise — has become an icon of our need to explore, and to protect our home world. NASA has just released a video explaining how the astronauts were able to capture this unique moment, which included a dash of both coincidence and fast teamwork."
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How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History

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  • Re: [SPOILERS] (Score:5, Informative)

    by codegen (103601) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:04PM (#45749635) Journal
    It's the same reason no stars. The camera exposure is set for daylight ( the moon surface in the foreground) the day side of the earth. The pictures of night earth including artificial lights require longer exposures.
  • Re:[SPOILERS] (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:06PM (#45749647)

    The picture probably had an exposure setting comparable to what you would use in the Arizona desert at high noon. You don't see any cities on the night side for the same reason you don't see any stars.

  • Re:[SPOILERS] (Score:3, Informative)

    by jdschulteis (689834) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:08PM (#45749679)

    It does strike me as interesting that unlike the views from orbit we see regularly that show population and technology density (e.g. the one making the point of North Korea's much weaker economic development than South Korea), where cities glow brightly against the rural darkness--the "dark side" of the Earth in the picture is absolutely dark in its entirety.

    Perhaps everything but the sun's illumination is filtered by the atmosphere from that distance? We certainly would have had comparable populations (hence comparable artificial lighting) in 1969...

    Even the world's greatest light polluting metropolis emits a puny amount of light compared to what Earth reflects from its sunlit side. The night side is "absolutely dark in its entirety" simply due to underexposure.

  • Re:[SPOILERS] (Score:3, Informative)

    by Iniamyen (2440798) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:09PM (#45749681)
    Our eyes have more dynamic range than a camera does. The dark area appears dark because it is much darker than the lighted area, so the dynamic range of the camera is "used up" adjusting for the range of the lighted area. Thus, anything below the low end of the adjusted range just looks black. Notice how you can't see many stars in the background, either.
  • Re:Fast teamwork? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:49PM (#45749995)

    In the video, there wasn't actually a disagreement about taking the picture. It's clear from Borman's tone that he was kidding with Anders about whether or not that photo was scheduled, and Anders responds with a chuckle and keeps taking the pictures.

    It's also worth pointing out that this was at the height of the space race. They didn't really need any more PR at that point. They just needed to win.

    Also, as I understand it, the reason they missed it previously (and on subsequent orbits) was because the capsule was simply oriented in the wrong direction. It was only because they were in the middle of the roll maneuver that the windows turned for awhile in a direction that allowed them to capture the shot. Prior to and after the maneuver they were not oriented in such a way that they could capture the shot.

  • Re:Fast teamwork? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alomex (148003) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:50PM (#45750017) Homepage

    and that there seems to been a bit of a disagreement as to whether they should even be snapping that photo.

    That's a joke son. You can hear it clearly in the recording that it was meant in jest/snarky-remark.

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