We have not even reached cosmic scales in this image. The Sun is still 8 million times brighter than the next brightest star, with the closest exoplanets approximately 1, times more distant than the ones in our Solar System. And still, even at such a close distance, there are no visible signs that anything of interest exists on planet Earth.
The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 6 billion km from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. From Voyager's great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera. Earth was a crescent only 0. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun.
A Pale Blue Dot | The Planetary Society
This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters — violet, blue and green — and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification. For thousands upon thousands of years, humans have warred with one another for control over the resources found on tiny, minuscule fractions of this world.
Nations have risen and fallen; generations of people have been persecuted, enslaved, or victimized by genocide; individuals have strived to find friendship, love, and meaning amidst the struggle of existence. At the same time, we are no longer limited by planet Earth itself. Through the advances of science, the development of technology, the spirit of collaboration and teamwork, and the pooling of our collective resources, we have not only come to comprehend the laws governing reality, but we've begun to both understand and explore the Universe around us.
This pale blue dot is presently home to us all, but our descendants may yet venture farther than we ever will. Humans can routinely view the Earth from outer space, orbiting our world once every 90 minutes. The imprint of the human impact on our world, particularly at night, is easily visible from close by, but cannot be seen at the great distances from beyond low-Earth orbit.
Today marks the 29th anniversary of the first-ever family portrait taken of the worlds in our Solar System, from as far away as we've ever ventured.
The Voyager spacecraft, along with the Pioneers and New Horizons, all continue to speed away from our Sun, and all will eventually wind up in interstellar space. Voyager 1, to as far as we can extrapolate, will remain the most distant human-made object from Earth into the arbitrarily far future. Yet it's still operational even today. The family portrait it took on February 14th, , was taken at the urging of Carl Sagan, and remains one of our most iconic views of our fragile home world ever to grace humanity.
The mosaic, pieced together over a period of a few weeks, comprises all of the planets visible in the Solar System. Although their positions are shown, Uranus and Neptune are not visible.
Pale Blue Dot
Note a portion of the Milky Way visible to the left of Mars. With a better camera but much closer to the Sun, it was able to image the innermost six planets, as well as Earth's and Jupiter's large moons, but could not resolve Uranus or Neptune at their great distances.
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- The Pale Blue Dot Celebrates Its 29th Anniversary, Reminding Us How Small And Fragile We Are.
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A single composition from a single spacecraft that captures all 8 planets, along with the Sun, has still never been achieved. There is no scientific value attached to it, but sometimes, a single view that can bring us all together and make us appreciate how alone we truly are in the Universe is worth more than any new knowledge we can glean.
The first view with human eyes of the Earth rising over the limb of the Moon. The discovery of the Earth from space, with human eyes, remains one of the most iconic achievements in our species' history. We are at a critical moment in the development of civilization. Our world has advanced to where we are today because of how we've invested in education, scientific inquiry, and exploration of the unknown.
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These are endeavors that have no clearly quantifiable return-on-investment; sometimes, you don't find anything new when you venture into new territory. But sometimes you do. His words back then still resonate today:. We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth. As far as we know, there is no one else in the Universe yet aware of our presence. All signs indicate that we have yet to make contact with intelligence beyond our world.
Now is the most important time to reinvest in the future of the human enterprise. Let us never forget what we are in the grand scheme of things.
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