Fifty years ago, while preparing for the first human landing on another world, the crew of Apollo 11 saw their home planet rise above the Moon's horizon. The crew of Apollo 8 had witnessed the first Earthrise seven months earlier and taken an iconic colour photo of the event. This time Buzz Aldrin took a series of sixteen photos with a handheld Hasselblad 500EL camera. We've taken NASA's digital scans of these 70mm film frames, cleaned them of dust and scratches, and matched their geometry and brightness to create a series of short video sequences of this historic Earthrise, as viewed from Apollo 11 on 20th July 1969.
"I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." - Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander
"The overriding sensation I got looking at the Earth was, my god that little thing is so fragile out there."
- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot
"We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth."
- Bill Anders, Apollo 8 Lunar Module Pilot
The photos were taken on Apollo 11's fifth orbit around the Moon, when it was over Mare Smythii, on the Moon's eastern limb, heading west on an Equatorial orbit towards the landing site in Mare Tranquillitatis (the Sea of Tranquility). All the Apollo landing sites are shown on map below, which we prepared for the book Pocket Nature: Night Sky (Dorling Kindersley, 2006).
Apollo mission photos AS11-44-6547 to 6564, cleaned, co-registered and brightness-matched by Planetary Visions (source: NASA). Moon map based on Clementine satellite imagery (source: USGS).