This video truly illustrates why our Earth is called The Blue Marble. Taken every 30 minutes over Indian ocean from May 15th to May 19th, 2011, these images by the geostationary Elektro-L weather satellite have been compiled into an incredibly high resolution time lapse: Planet Earth in 4K resolution.
To answer frequently asked questions; why are city lights, the Sun, and other stars not visible? City lights are not visible because they are thousands of times less bright than the reflection of sunlight off the Earth. If the camera was sensitive enough to detect city lights, the Earth would be overexposed. The Sun is not visible due to mechanisms used to protect the camera CCD from direct exposure to sunlight. A circular mask on the CCD ensures that only the Earth is visible. This mask can be seen as pixelation on Earth’s horizon. The mask also excludes stars from view, although they would not be bright enough to be visible to this camera.
Related reading: The Overview Effect, “a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.”
It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.
There are more videos to watch: Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, animated, Departing Earth, a view from Messenger Spacecraft, Further Up Yonder: A Message From ISS To All Humankind, and Phases of the Moon.
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