Full Earth, Apollo 17

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Location: 26o S, 040o E. (Approximate center of image)

The only full-earth picture taken by Apollo astronauts was taken on the way to the Moon on December 7, 1972 when the spacecraft was about 29,000 km (18,000 miles) from Earth.

Almost all of Africa is visible, along with Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula. Deserts are various shades of pink and tan, the oceans are blue and clouds are white. At the bottom of the image, much of Antarctica is visible. The light patch of ocean off southern Africa is sun glint, a reflection of the sun on the ocean. Because of waves, the reflection is fuzzy. Australia is just on the edge of the earth at about the 3 o'clock position and southernmost South America at about 7 o'clock. Both are very hard to see because of haze and clouds. Australia is also on the earth's sunset line, or terminator.


Original Scene

(NASA image)

Possible Coloring


Labeled Figure


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Created 30 June 2009, Last Update 14 December 2009

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