The photograph titled “Earthrise,” taken in 1968 by NASA astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, is probably one of the best-known and most iconic pieces of space photography. For the first time, we saw the Earth rise above the Moon – instead of the other way round – in full color. This sight has been reproduced multiple times during succeeding lunar missions, but Anders’ photograph has a special place in history books.
It wasn’t until 2008, when a similarly spectacular recording of the Earth rising above the Moon has been captured. But this time it was neither an American mission nor an actual human photographer that took the footage. Instead, it was the Japanese lunar orbiter SELENE, also known by its Japanese nickname “Kaguya,” which recorded a full Earthrise video in high-definition during its 20-month mission between late 2007 and early 2009.
The video that shows a full Earth rise above the Moon was taken on April 5, 2008, and the Japanese space agency, JAXA, published an English-dubbed version in March 2009. So, while the video is more than five years old by now, we deem it still to be spectacular enough to merit a mention at this point. This year should be a good one for Moon phenomenons, with a Supermoon recently making an appearance (there will be five this year) and the Blood Moon making a reappearance in October.
And in case you were wondering what happened to the lunar orbiter after its mission was completed – it was deliberately crashed onto the moon’s surface on June 10, 2009.