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A Pale Blue Dot: The Ultimate Earth "selfie..."

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A Pale Blue Dot was written in 1990 by Carl Sagan in response to a NASA photograph that he requested be taken as Voyager I, in February 1990, was leaving our solar system. Voyager I turned and took the "ultimate Earth selfie" showing Earth as a tiny speck of blue in a vast, scattered light rays.  Stop for a moment before beginning the lesson and go to this link to see the actual photo.  

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There is a bit more to the Pale Blue Dot that can be heard from Carl Sagan himself at this Library of Congress link.  Take  few moments it is worth listening to Sagan describe what he suggested to NASA as Voyager I was leaving the solar system and why he thought it was so important to take this photo.  Now, read the words of his essay here. Go back to the THINK section and answer the remaining questions.

There are several different versions of the Pale Blue Dot.  Here is one from the Sagan Series and another from Zen Pencils.  Which version do you prefer and why?  Place your answer in question 10 in the THINK section.

Sagan's book, The Pale Blue Dot had several revisions that can be seen at the Library of Congress website.  An article from the Atlantic:  An Early Draft of Carl Sagan's Famous 'Pale Blue Dot Quote' discusses the essay and its revisions.  

NPR's All Things Considered celebrated the 20th anniversary of this amazing photo and discusses it as, An Alien View of Earth. What an interesting way to think about this photo.  This IS what the Earth just might appear to look like from approaching alien life.  Wow!  

Visit NASA and celebrate the 25th anniversary of Voyagers photo which if taken now would appear ten times dimmer than it did in 1990.  (Voyager would be MUCH farther away now).  While here take a look at a photo:  The Day The Earth Smiled taken of the Earth from the Cassini Mission in 2013.  How do these two photos compare?

The most famous photo of the Earth, The Blue Marble was taken in 1972 and left us all in awe.  Here is a more recent version of the same view, take a moment and read the article featuring Neil Degrasse Tyson and his version of what we see when we look at the new "Blue Marble." 

How do you feel when you look at these photos?  What thoughts come to mind?  Visit the Discussion section and share!




















Avatar for Kim Preshoff
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Williamsville, New York, United States

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