This article is for quizzes on Monday June 8th, 2015...

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth, taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometers (28,000 mi).
The name has also been applied by NASA to a 2012 series of image data sets covering the entire globe at relatively high resolution, created by carefully sifting through satellite-captured sequences taken over time, to eliminate as much cloud cover as possible from the collated set of images.

In the original photograph, the South Pole was near the top; for publishing, NASA rotated the image 180 degrees, in accordance with the convention of orienting maps with north at the top.

The snapshot—taken by astronauts on December 7, 1972, at 5:39 a.m. EST (10:39 UTC)—is one of the most widely distributed photographic images in existence. The image is one of the few to show a fully illuminated Earth, as the astronauts had the Sun behind them when they took the image. To the astronauts, Earth had the appearance and size of a glass marble, hence the name.

On December 5, 2012, NASA released a nighttime view of Earth called Black Marble during an annual meeting of Earth scientists held by the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The images display all the human and natural matter that glows and can be sensed from space. The data was acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012 and then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet. The Suomi NPP satellite completed 312 orbits and gathered 2.5 terabytes of data to get a clear shot of every parcel of the Earth’s land surface. Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, the satellite flies over any given point on Earth’s surface twice each day and flies 512 miles above the surface in a polar orbit.

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