Forty-five years ago, on December 24, 1968, the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 witnessed and photographed the Earthrise for the first time as they orbited the moon. The photo, taken by Bill Anders with a Hasselblad 500 EL and a Zeiss Sonnar 250mm f/5.6 telephoto lens, became a symbol of space exploration:
Anders had a camera in his hand to document the mission from his view out of a side window, and another Hasselblad with an 80mm lens was mounted in the craft’s front facing window, set to take pictures automatically every 20 seconds. After three orbits around the moon, the crew was not expecting to see anything other than the moon’s surface, but as they came around for the fourth time, they witnessed what Command Module Pilot, Jim Lovell, described as “a grand oasis in the vastness of space.”
While no one will ever get to experience seeing the Earthrise as Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders did in 1968, new data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), combined with the astronauts’ photographs and voice recordings, let us see the event as the astronauts saw it. Watch this playback of the historic moments leading up to the iconic photograph of the Earthrise:
“Oh my God, look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth comin’ up. Wow, is that pretty!”
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: