Pale Blue Dot

  • BOOK: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
  • Published in 1994 (English)

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billionmiles, 40 AU) from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft 

The Voyager 1 spacecraft

Sagan pointed out that “all of human history has happened on that tiny pixel,” shown here inside a blue circle, “which is our only home” (speech at Cornell University, October 13, 1994).

WE ARE HERE

Pale blue dot image with a wider field of view to show more background

Astronomy Picture of the Day

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Explanation: In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet’s shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn andslightly scattering sunlight, in the above exaggerated color image. Saturn’s rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the above image. Visible in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn’s E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus, and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, visible on the image left just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

We are here: The Pale Blue Dot 

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