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| | Space on Aug 23, 2014

This date in science: First view of Earth from the moon

The first view of Earth from the moon was a stunner when NASA released it in 1966. Later, NASA restored the photo to reveal even more detail.

August 23, 1966. This photo reveals the first view of Earth from the moon, taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 23, 1966. It’s shot from a distance of about 236,000 miles (380,000 kilometers) and shows half of Earth, from Istanbul to Cape Town and areas east, shrouded in night.

Photograph courtesy NASA/Lunar Orbiter 1 This photo reveals the first view of Earth from the moon, taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 23, 1966. Shot from a distance of about 236,000 miles (380,000 kilometers), this image shows half of Earth, from Istanbul to Cape Town and areas east, shrouded in night.

First view of Earth from the moon, courtesy NASA/Lunar Orbiter 1.

Lunar Orbiter 1 was one of five Lunar Orbiters sent to the moon in the 1960s by NASA. This particular craft was primarily designed to take photographs, in order to serve as an Apollo landing site survey mission. Read more about NASA’s Lunar Orbiter missions, 1966-1967

Though the photo revealed no detail on Earth’s surface when it was taken in 1966, those on Earth who saw this photo must have been stunned by it.

In 2008, NASA released a newly restored version of the original 1966 image of Earth. Using refurbished machinery and modern digital technology, NASA produced the image at a much higher resolution than was possible when it was originally taken. You’ll see the restored image below. Read more about the restoration here.

First image of Earth from moon, taken via Lunar Orbiter I on August 23, 1966, restored in 2008 by NASA, using photographic techniques that were not available when the photo was originally acquired.  Read more about this photo from NASA.

First image of Earth from moon, taken via Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 23, 1966, restored in 2008 by NASA, using photographic techniques that were not available when that early spacecraft originally acquired this historic photo. Read more about this photo from NASA.