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The Power of a Photograph –

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1. By request of Carl Sagan, in command of theNASA spacecraft, having completed its primary mission and now leaving the Solar System, a mere 3,762,136,324 miles from Earth, to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space. This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’, is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. NASA acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth. From Voyager’s great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera! Earth was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun.

This blown-up image of the Earth was taken throughthree color filters — violet, blue and green — and recombined to produce the

color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification

Subsequently, the title of the photograph was used by Sagan as the primary title of his 1994 book.He reads an excerpt of that book set to clips from some of histories most popular films (one of our most dramatic, diverse, and popular mediums of human artistic expression) set to the atmospheric music of Mogwai –  perfect for this sort of philosophic theme. (a film by David Fu – www.palebluefilms.com)

What power just a single image can have!

  • Astronomy should be taken more seriously. Think of the benefit it would give younger generations. If only, people understood how small and precious but still so insignificant, we really are. Yep, Astronomy should be taken more seriously.