Look up at the moon for today's Geo Quiz.
It was 40 years ago tomorrow that Apollo 8 did something that was never done before. It orbited the moon.
Bill Anders was one of the three astronauts on board. It was an experience that moves him to this day.
"When I look up at the moon, particularly when it's just a little bit of a sliver on the right side that's illuminated, it give me a little chill in my back because that's the way it looked when we went, and let me tell you, the moon is one heck of a long way off!"
Of course, from the moon, it's the Earth that's "one heck of a long way off." During the Apollo 8 mission Anders took a dramatic photo of the Earth rising against the black sky of space.
One of our planet's geographic features that caught his eye from space was a bright blue and deep oceanic trench. This Atlantic channel near the Bahamas is 6,000 feet deep. From the moon, it looks a little like, dare we say it, a stuffed Christmas stocking.
So can you name it?
Look up to the night sky and on most nights, the moon is out shining right back at you. Now reverse that perspective. Imagine looking out from the moon to see us here on Earth some 237 thousand miles or so away.
Astronaut Bill Anders had a chance to see Earth that way. One of the Earth's geographic features that caught his eye during the mission was the deep blue, almost turquoise color of the deep oceanic trench around the Bahamas. Here it is, the answer to our Geo Quiz: the Tongue of the Ocean.
But it was another even more spectacular view that he captured on film. On Christmas Eve, 1968, Bill Anders was aboard the Command and Service Module for NASA's Apollo 8 mission orbiting around the moon.
Bill Anders took one of most influential photographs of all time....called Earth Rising:
Image of the Earth rising over the Moon from Apollo 8Image of the Earth rising over the Moon from Apollo 8
This view of the rising Earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the Moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn. Earth is about five degrees above the horizon in the photo. The unnamed surface features in the foreground are near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from Earth. The lunar horizon is approximately 780 kilometers from the spacecraft. Width of the photographed area at the horizon is about 175 kilometers. On the Earth 240,000 miles away, the sunset terminator bisects Africa. Credit: NASA
But Bill Anders says since taking that photograph of Earth Rising, he's come across another photograph that he likes even better. It shows him flying in a "Father-Son formation flight approved by Air Combat Command Commander Greg in his F-15E Strike Eagle and Bill in his P-51 Mustang over North Carolina just prior to the show pass over Seymour Johnson Air Force Base."
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