Earth from Rosetta

By Phil Plait | November 20, 2007 11:06 pm

Speaking of Australia…

The European probe Rosetta is on its way to investigate the comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. To get there, it has to swing by the Earth a couple of times to pick up energy. It stole a bit of energy from us just a couple of weeks ago, and when it did it took a flurry of images of the Earth and Moon. I think my fave is this one:

The only land you can see is Australia, looking a bit brown now that it’s the dead of summer there. I doubt there much that can be learned from pictures like this (although they are very handy for calibrating the cameras, of course), but I’m glad the mission teams take them anyway. They’re pretty, and that’s cool too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (26)

Links to this Post

  1. franKnarf’s bloGolb » Blog Archive » Bloody Atmosphere! | November 21, 2007
  1. Actually summer doesn’t start for another week or so down here. Besides, I’m pretty sure oz looks brown all year round from that altitude.

  2. Nick

    Most of the country is like that all year round.

  3. kvenlander

    I love their Earth limb picture (now a composite with the night side picture on their site). Just look at that thin, so thin, sliver of atmosphere and biosphere…

  4. Geophysicist

    I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of droughts and flooding rains.
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel-sea,
    Her beauty and her terror -
    The wide brown land for me!

  5. Nigel Depledge

    Of course, most pics of the Earth from space (above low-Earth orbit) are very pretty. You can’t see what we’ve done to the planet from that altitude.

    Anyhow, the pic you chose is a good ‘un: I like the way it illustrates the sheer size of the Pacific. It makes Oz look rather lonely.

  6. This is a very nice script, almost what I’ve been looking for, but it is still better than a lot of the stuff I have found. Also, the pictured link is very nice and informative too…

  7. Cusp

    Err – the largest country in that picture is China – the one up there in the north – and I know someone will possibly be able to see Russia at the very top (well – a little bit of it anyway)

    (Cusp in Sydney)

  8. Richard Saunders

    Can you see me waving?

  9. Garth Welsh

    * “I doubt there’s much that can be learned from pictures like this”

    That’s because the picture has been reversed horizontally. Am I the only Aussie to notice that it’s back to front!

  10. Go Jim

    From this picture the extra 23 degree tilt that the earth went through recently is fairly obvious….

    *ducks*
    :-)

  11. Jeffersonian

    Logically, the “dead” of summer would be Feb. 8-March 23. It’s currently the “dead” of spring.

  12. Richard B. Drumm

    Dang!
    Yer right, Garth! The bay at Port Lincoln/Adelaide/Whyalla is on the left side instead of the right side! ESA has perverted the continent!
    ;-D
    Good catch!

    But all joking aside, pretty pictures are very important! They are key to EPO and EPO is important! It’s not just lame PR, it can be the lynchpin in the funding equation. The Hubble repair mission wouldn’t have happened without the folks at the OPO (Office of Public Ourteach) publishing all those pretty pictures and getting the public interested in the mission.
    Rich

  13. Sergeant Zim

    That picture is obviously fake, just like all the others that purport to show Earth as anything other than flat, and the perfect center of the universe any thinking person knows it to be..

  14. > That’s because the picture has been reversed horizontally. Am I the only Aussie to notice that it’s back to front!

    Australia got bored of just doin’ the same ol’ thing every millenia and so decided to turn around to be Different and Cool in a sort of retro-80s Look-At-Me-I’m-Wearing-A-Baseball-Cap-Backwards sort of way.

    I don’t think it worked.

  15. Ken

    It’s probably a bit browner than usual, due to “The Big Dry”. See http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20071027/bob9.asp for a little rundown on the drought.

  16. Quiet_Desperation

    Some skeptical blog this is!

    Australia is *totally* a myth! Like Middle Earth, Narnia, Discworld and San Francisco!

    Sheesh!

  17. Thomas Siefert

    Australia always looks like that mate.

    Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
    Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
    And he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy boiled
    “Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?”

    Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
    Up got the swaggy and grabbed him with glee,
    And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”.

    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”
    And he sang as he stowed that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”.

    Down came the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
    Up came the troopers, one, two, three,
    “Who’s that jolly jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?”
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”.

    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”
    “Who’s that jolly jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?”,
    “You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”.

    Up got the swaggy and jumped into the billabong,
    “You’ll never catch me alive,” said he,
    And his ghost may be heard as you passed by that billabong,
    “Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?”

    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
    Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
    And his ghost may be heard as you passed by that billabong,
    “Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me?”

  18. I’m tired of all these satellites stealing our precious orbital energy. Sure they’re making our winters shorter, but they’re also making our summers shorter, and it isn’t right.

  19. Tacticus

    Personally i would appreciate a shorter summer : even if it isn’t here yet

  20. Cusp

    Garth Welsh – the picture has not been reversed. Look at China and Russia (the white coast line is the Russian Vladivostok coast) in the top of the picture and compare to a map.

  21. Garth Welsh

    Cusp,

    Sorry mate, but as Richard B. Drumm also pointed out, Spencer Gulf and the Gulf of St Vincent are on the wrong side. Reverse the picture, you’ll see that your “Sunny Sydney” is under all that cloud as usual! ;-)

    I also think the “coastline” that you’re referring to is the Himalayas – and if you look carefully below them you will see the sub-continent of India.

  22. Cusp

    Ar*e – Just checked out the hi-res – Yes, Garth, you’re correct :)

  23. The Europeans are commenting on Australia, and I don’t think they’re being nice at all about it. ;)

  24. Chip

    What a beautiful blue world. And that small patch of brown called Australia, that is very big by human standards, has some green near the edges if you look closely.

  25. My favorite part of such photos is the blue arc around the edge of the Earth.

    Every so often, a creationist will try to argue that of course we can’t see God even though he’s everywhere by asking, “can you see the air?” Then I think of photographs like this one and say, “Yes.”

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