Monday, September 26, 2022

On This Day In Space: Sept. 17, 1789: Saturn’s ‘Death Star’ moon Mimas discovered

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On Sept. 18, 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft took a photo of Earth and the moon. It was the first time both the Earth and the moon were captured in a single frame. 

At the time, Voyager 1 was more than 7 million miles away from Earth. It had launched about two weeks earlier on a mission to explore the outer planets. 

Related: Voyager: 40 Photos from NASA’s Epic ‘Grand Tour’ Mission 

This image of the Earth and moon in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded on Sept. 18, 1977, by Voyager 1 when it was 7.25 million miles (11.7 million kilometers) from Earth. (Image credit: NASA)Voyager 1 passed through the asteroid belt and visited Jupiter and Saturn. Then it took a sharp turn and started heading straight out of the plane of the solar system. 

Before Voyager 1 went into interstellar space, Carl Sagan convinced NASA to turn its cameras around one last time to take a family portrait of all the planets in the solar system. This family portrait shows Earth as a tiny speck in a ray of sunshine. It is now famously known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

On This Day in Space Archive!  Still not enough space? Don’t forget to check out our Space Image of the Day, and on the weekends our Best Space Photos and Top Space News Stories of the week. 

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Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos. 

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