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Astronomy Picture of the Day: Earth rise

"Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow is that pretty!"

Soon after that pronouncement, 50 years ago today, one of the most famous images ever taken was snapped from the orbit of the Moon.

Now known as "Earthrise", the iconic image shows the Earth rising above the limb of the Moon, as taken by the crew of Apollo 8. But the well-known Earthrise image was actually the second image taken of the Earth rising above the lunar limb -- it was just the first in color.

With modern digital technology, however, the real first Earthrise image -- originally in black and white -- has now been remastered to have the combined resolution and color of the first three images. Behold!

The featured image is a close-up of the picture that Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders was talking about. Thanks to modern technology and human ingenuity, now we can all see it.

(Historical note: A different historic black & white image of the Earth setting behind the lunar limb was taken by the robotic Lunar Orbiter 1 two years earlier.)

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Voyager 2 Entered interstellar space

For the second time in human history, a object has reached the space in between the stars, interstellar Space. The NASA's Voyager 2 probe now has left the heliosphere - the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by our Sun.

Comparing data from different instruments aboard the trailblazing spacecraft, mission scientists determined the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on Nov. 5.

This boundary, called the heliopause, is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information - moving at the speed of light - takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.

The most compelling evidence of Voyager 2's exit from the heliosphere came from its onboard Plasma Science Experiment (PLS), an instrument that stopped working on Voyager 1 in 1980, long before that probe crossed the heliopause. Until recently, the space surrounding Voyager 2 was filled predominantly with plasma flowing out from our Sun. This outflow, called the solar wind, creates a bubble - the heliosphere - that envelopes the planets in our solar system. The PLS uses the electrical current of the plasma to detect the speed, density, temperature, pressure and flux of the solar wind. The PLS aboard Voyager 2 observed a steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles on Nov. 5. Since that date, the plasma instrument has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere.

 

 

 

Follow the Link below to see realtime updates about the 2 Voyagers:

https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status/

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