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Apollo 8: Humanity’s First Earthrise—and First Christmas—from the Moon

24 Dec 2017, 17:57 UTC
Apollo 8: Humanity’s First Earthrise—and First Christmas—from the Moon
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”
– William Anders, Apollo 8 Commander

Photo of the Earth beyond the Moon (AS08-14-2383) captured by Apollo 8 on Dec. 24, 1968.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 CSM entered orbit around the Moon and, after completing 4 full orbits, provided the three astronauts on board with an amazing sight: a blue Earth rising* beyond the Moon’s cratered limb. Commander Frank Borman spotted the scene first and, after taking a 70mm black-and-white photograph, was able to rotate the Command Module so Earth remained in view through the small windows while CM pilot Jim Lovell captured this famous image on color film. It was the first time any humans saw the Earth from the vicinity of the Moon…and it was also the first Christmas that astronauts spent in space.
“The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” Jim Lovell said.

The photo above was captured on Kodak SO-368 color film with a Hasselblad 70mm camera using a 250mm telephoto lens.
To mark both the holiday and historic event ...

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