What does the Earth look like from outer space? | Basics of Astronomy

Three starry points called Venus, Earth and Mars opposite the moving star sphere.

Venus, Earth and Mars on November 18, 2020, as seen by NASA’s Solar Probe and the European Space Agency (ESA) (single). This image was taken from about 155.7 million miles (250.6 million km) away. This is in contrast to the Sun’s distance from Earth which is about 93 million miles (150 million km). In this image, the sun is on the right outside the frame. Image via ESA / NASA/ NRL / Solar Orbit / SolOHI.

how does the earth look like from the space? And … how far away from Earth can we see it with our own eyes?

To find the answer to these questions, let’s take an imaginary journey through the solar system. Spacecraft exploring our solar system have given us great views of Earth. Keep reading, and check out the photos on this page, to see what the Earth looks like from various other places in our Al-Space neighborhood.

First, imagine an explosion 200 miles (300 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. This is about the height of the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS). From the window of the International Space Station, the Earth’s surface appears large. In the daytime, you can clearly see the main terrain. At night, from Earth’s orbit, you see the lights of cities on Earth.

The curve of the Earth, with cloudy areas and three large flat shiny spots, lakes.

Earth in broad daylight, from the International Space Station in 2012. The Great Lakes of North America sparkle in the sun. Read more about this photo.

Glowing arcs of green, purple, and white light over the orange lights scattered over a dark surface.

Earth at night, from the International Space Station in 2012. Ireland is in the front, the United Kingdom is in the back and to the right. Bright sunrise in the background. The green and purple show the aurora borealis along the rest of the horizon.

Let’s go further, say, the distance of the moon’s orbit.

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When we pass the moon – about a quarter of a million miles (about 380,000 km) away – the Earth looks like a bright ball in space. It’s not much different from the way the moon looks at us.

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The first images of Earth from the moon came from the Apollo mission. Apollo 8 in 1968 was the first human space flight to leave Earth’s orbit. It was the first Earth spacecraft to be captured and escape the gravitational field of another celestial body, in this case the Moon.

It was the first voyage in which humans visited another world and returned to Earth.

The surface of the moon is below, and the bluish-green half of the Earth is floating on it.

Seeing Earth from the Moon by Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968. Photo: NASA.

In the decades since Voyager began traveling abroad, lunar exploration has become more and more popular. The robotic spacecraft Kaguya orbited the Earth’s moon in 2007. Launched by Japan, and officially named SELENE, Kaguya studied the origin and evolution of the moon. The frame below is from Kaguya’s built-in HDTV camera.

The surface of the moon is riddled with craters, with most of the blue and white Earth seen hanging in the black sky above.

Earth viewed from the moon by Kaguya in 2007. Photo by SELENE JAXA / NHK team.

Five panels with blue and white ground approaching the horizon and go for the last painting.

Another photo from Kaguya, which I got footage and footage of laying on the ground. Remember that if you are on the moon, you will not see the earth rise or set. But spacecraft in orbit around the moon witness this scene. Image via JAXA.

Now let’s keep moving outward so we can see the Earth and the Moon together in space. The following image was amazing when it was first released. The Earth and moon are shown as a crescent – the first of its kind captured by a spacecraft – on September 18, 1977.

A small gray-brown crescent over a larger green and white crescent.

This crescent-shaped image of the Earth and the moon – the first of its kind ever by a spacecraft – was recorded on September 18, 1977, by Voyager 1 at a distance of 7.25 million miles (11.66 million km) from Earth. The moon is at the top of the image and outside the Earth as seen by Voyager. Image via NASA.

Since 1977, many robotic spacecraft have ventured outside into our solar system. The mosaic below shows images of the Earth and the Moon obtained by a multispectral photographer on the Asteroid Confluence craft near Earth (NearOn January 23, 1998, 19 hours after the spacecraft swung the Earth on its way to the asteroid 433 Eros. The two images were taken from a range of 250,000 miles (400,000 km), roughly the same distance between the two objects.

The crescent moon and a little more than half of the Earth on a black background.

Earth and the moon were seen by the NEAR spacecraft in 1998.

It is accelerating outward from the Earth-Moon system, traversing the orbits of the planets of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Among all these worlds, Earth appears like a star, which becomes fainter the further it is.

A dark landscape and greenish sky with a small dot and an inner frame showing two dots on which the earth and the moon are written.

Earth and the Moon, as seen from Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover on January 31, 2014. Read more about this photo.

Saturn with numbered rings and moons, and a small point called Earth-Moon.

View larger. | Seeing the Earth behind Saturn’s rings. See us at the bottom right? Mars and Venus are at the top left. Image from the Cassini spacecraft, July 19, 2013.

Dark, green, and brown vertical stripes with a small dot on one of them.

This is the famous image known as Pale Blue Dot. It is an image of Earth taken on February 14, 1990 by the Voyager 1 probe from a record distance of about 6 billion km (3.7 billion miles). The ground is the bluish white spot roughly halfway down the brown stripe to the right.

The images above are taken from Saturn, the sixth planet out in orbit around the sun. I’ve never seen any image of Earth from Uranus, Neptune, or any other body outside Saturn’s orbit. Only five spacecraft from Earth – the Voyager spacecraft, the two pioneers and the New Horizons spacecraft, which overtook Pluto in 2015 – have ventured this far. This craft was not designed to look at Earth, and as far as I know, it did not capture images of the Earth from distances further than Saturn.

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But, now in theory, could Earth be viewed further than Saturn?

It speaks only in terms of the ground brightnessThe answer is yes. Our world does not become so dim that it can only be seen with the eye alone after the orbit of Neptune, about 9 billion miles (14 billion kilometers) from home. Now look at Pluto’s orbit. It is extremely elliptical, extending from 2.7 billion miles (4.4 billion km) to more than 4.5 billion miles (7.3 billion km) from the Sun. Pluto lies within the finite distance that – if we consider brightness alone, there are no other factors – we should be able to see Earth with an eye alone.

But there is is being Another factor. When you come out of the Earth, our world appears closer and closer to the hot sun. As you move away, the sun’s glare begins to overwhelm the landscape. From Pluto – though Earth will be bright Enough to see it – you probably can’t see it in the glare of the sun.

So here is the answer How far off the earth can you be, and still see it with your own eyes. Although nobody knows for sure because no one has tried it (and because human eyesight varies from person to person), it may become impossible to see Earth with the eye somewhere outside of Saturn’s orbit.

Now let’s change the game. Let’s say we are could Use tools, not eyes alone. Suppose an intrepid astronautAstronomy scientists He went to Pluto. Suppose they took all the tools they needed to see the Earth in the glare of the sun. Can they use telescopes, occult discs, and other technologies to get a glimpse of the Earth? Can!

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But it still won’t be easy.

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Conclusion: what does the Earth look like from space? How far in space can you see the Earth with an eye alone? Taking into account the Just Brightness, the answer is about 9 billion miles (14 billion kilometers), about the distance of Neptune or Pluto. In practice, though, seeing it from that distance would be a challenge because the sun’s glare would overwhelm the view of the Earth.

Deborah Bird

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