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First solar system Family Portrait

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.”

Voyager 1, launched 05 September 1997, took the Pale Blue Dot and other “family photos at 05:22 GMT, Feb. 14, 1990. This is the only time a spacecraft has attempted to photograph our home solar system.

Six planets are visible in the mosaic, from left to right: Jupiter, Earth, Venus, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Voyager 1 took the 60 images that NASA compiled into the Family Portrait from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU). The composite contains the six planets with a background indicating relative positions.

The image series contatains the famous image that would become known as the Pale Blue Dot, revealing Earth was a tiny dot within a scattered ray of sunlight. Voyager 1 was so far away that — from its vantage point — Earth was a crescent of about a pixel.

pale blue dot
Pale Blue Dot, Revisited

In his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan wrote:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives… The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena… There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Voyager 1 had zoomed past Jupiter on 05 March 1979 and then Saturn on 12 November 1980 before continuing on the Voyager Interstellar Mission. In August 2012, Voyager 1 entered interstellar space and is the most distant human-made object in the galaxy.

#scitech, #STEM, #space (025/365)

📷 NASA

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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