Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from the Sun. The photo inspired the title of scientist Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Spot: The Vision of the Human Future in Space”: “Look at that point again. Here it is. In this house. This is us.”

What is a Pale Blue Dot?

The Pale Blue Dot is an iconic photo of Earth taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990.

Voyager 1 was leaving the solar system beyond Neptune and about 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) away from the Sun when it ordered its duty managers to look home for the last time. He took 60 series of pictures used to create the first “family portrait” of our solar system.

The photo known as the Pale Blue Dot shows the Earth in a diffused ray of sun. Voyager 1 was so far away that the Earth was just a pixel light spot from its point of view. The photo showed the planet alone on our planet in the infinity of space.

pale blue dot
This data visualization uses real spacecraft orbit data to show the family portrait image from Voyager 1’s perspective in February 1990. NASA / JPL-Caltech

Family Portrait

In addition to the world, Voyager 1 captured images of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus. Several key members did not appear in the shoot. Mars was hidden by scattered sunlight splashing on the camera, Mercury was very close to the Sun, and the dwarf planet Pluto was too small, distant and undetectable dark.

The images gave people an unprecedented and unprecedented view of their world and neighbors. Like the Earth, every planet appears only as a spot of light. (Uranus and Neptune appear elongated due to spacecraft movement during 15-second camera exposures.)

The family portrait remains the first and only project in which a spacecraft tries to photograph our solar system. Only three spacecraft have moved away from such a distance so that they can make such an observation, Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and New Horizons.

Sagan’s Dream Square

Carl Sagan was an important figure in the US space program. The leading planetary scientist was NASA’s advisor starting from the 1950s.

Sagan was also a member of the Voyager Imaging Team. In 1981, two Voyager spacecraft had an original idea of ​​using cameras to view the world. It was thought that the planets would not be able to see much because the spacecraft is so far away. This is exactly why Sagan and other members of the Voyager team thought the images were necessary for this reason. They wanted humanity to see the vulnerability of the Earth, and our world is just a small, fragile stain in the cosmic ocean.

On February 13, 1990, he prepared the Voyager 1 cameras and pointed to the spacecraft’s science platform Neptune, and observations began. After Neptune, Uranus took images of Saturn, Mars, the Sun, and then Jupiter, Earth and Venus. The world footage was taken at 4:48 GMT on February 14, 1990, just 34 minutes before turning off the Voyager 1 cameras forever.

It took until 1 May 1990 that all image data returned to Earth. Voyager 1 had taken pictures of six of the seven planets as well as the Sun.

Sagan Dream Square
Sagan’s Dream Square

About Photographer

Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977 with the Titan III Centaur Rocket. Voyager 1 surpassed Jupiter on March 5, 1979 and Saturn on November 12, 1980. After taking the Pale Blue Dot and other “family photos” – on February 14, 1990 at 5:22 GMT – Voyager 1 closed their cameras forever. Task planners have disabled cameras to conserve energy for a long journey.

In August 2012, Voyager 1 entered the interstellar space. It is now the most distant human-made object.

Source: NASA


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