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Monday, 24 December 2018


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Thanks for the excellent video of earth rise. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus!

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!" ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Thanks for the credit but I had not seen this before fellow friend and photographer Gary Morris had brought it to my attention.
Everyone knows the photo but I had always been curious how it was accomplished. If it was f11 at 1/250 I presume the ISO of the film was 64?

Had it been shot today with high DR digital sensors the stars could have been seen too. The earth against the background of stars can be even more impressive.

Merry Christmas to all,

Personally I am not very interested in 'Space' issues and images but this was/is both beautiful and stunning - a much overused word nowadays but entirely appropriate here - thank you for posting it Mike.
On a broader note thank you for all of your work through the year - based on my own experience I know that you must bring renewed interest and fun to your many readers ... often things which we would not see/hear otherwise both in depth and breadth.
My pre-breakfast retirement mornings start with an on-line trawl through several of the so-called 'better' or 'serious' newspapers and then through four or five photo sites always starting with yours. Increasing I need the uplift and change of pace that you provide to lift the frequent gloom that descends from 'the news' but you manage that on a regular basis - thank you - you enable my enjoyment of breakfast !

Have a wonderful Christmas, Mike - and all TOPpers!

"Hey. Don't take that. It's not scheduled."

The best things seldom are.

Thanks for another great year of on-, and off-topic thoughts and conversation. As many have already said, your 'column' is some of my first reads each morning. Happy Holidays, Mr. Johnston.

I remember watching the live telecast on Christmas Eve (I had just turned 10). The orbiting capsule's video feed of the moon's surface kept us glued to the screen (26" Zenith color set with "space command" remote control). The broadcast was in black and white.

A merry Christmas to you, Mike, and to the TOP brotherhood!

Merry Christmas Mike. Thanks for the variety and warmth of your postings this year. Andy

Thanks Mike! Great background info on one of my favorite images, it has been a background on my phone and computers for years. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to TOP!

Merry Christmas, Mike.
Wishing you and your loved ones well. I'm looking forward to another year of reading your work every morning.

BBC Radio 5 ran an excellent podcast on the Apollo 8 flight this afternoon, available here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001qn1#play

There was a show on the Tacoma based PBS station that interviewed Bill Anders. https://www.pbs.org/video/earthrise-k9imny/ He stated that in his mind that the most important thing he did was to rebuild General Dynamics, however I disagree.

That simple click changed the world and how humanity looks at "this good earth". This is one of the most important photographs know to man.

The old trope "f/8 and be there" takes on a special meaning with this shot. Especially when you work out the "be there" back story.

Earlier this month, we were fortunate to attend an event at the National Cathedral in Washington DC that featured Apollo 8 (and, later, Apollo 13) astronaut Jim Lovell. His talk was centered around the mission and, in particular, how that photograph came to be made. He related the story of how they initially had black and white film loaded and took a black and white picture before switching to color (something that is also described in the short film linked above). He also told the story of how they came to read the biblical passage from lunar orbit to an earth-bound audience on Christmas eve. Needless to say, it was great.

Also on display at the event were several original NASA artifacts from the Apollo 8 mission, including the only print of the Earthrise photo signed by all three astronauts.

Mike, Merry Christmas to you and a happy and healthy 2019.

Merry Christmas Mike

What a great post.
Thank You for this and all the other things you do to keep TOP as interesting and collegial as it is.
A rare and wonderful thing on the vast 'inter webs'
Merry Christmas

A Happy Xmas to you Mike, and thanks for another year of enjoyable writing. I never miss a post.

It's Xmas Day here already and a beautiful 35C (95F) with temps in the mid to high 20s (high 70s to 80s) for the next week. Strangely, not a sign of snow, but the beach looks fine.

Let's hope for better New Year with a bit more sanity from the top man.

I know I watched every bit of the TV coverage of that flight, but I have no memory of it. I was but a wee lad of 11.

Extraordinary courage (and faith) to go where none have gone in a manner none have done.

Feliz Navidad


Dear Mike (if I am allowed to be as familiar), thank you for all your many diverse photo related texts, and for the non-photo related texts - your whole site! Have a very nice and beatifull christmas and new years eve - and a new year too.

Dear Mike,
Thank you for all of this. And Merry Christmas!

I watched the coverage with my first wife and her family at her grandfather's house outside Jamestown, North Dakota. Her father had worked as an engineer with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA, and some of the engineers who worked on Apollo may have been old coworkers of his. It was from him that I learned that NASA was publishing hard cover books of full color photographs of the earth taken from space at what was even then a very reasonable price, and I subsequently purchased several.

What I remember of the coverage is being fascinated by the black and white views of the lunar landscape as it slid past the camera, views I could only imagine before while reading science fiction.

As a postscript I should point out that on January 1 the New Horizons spacecraft will making closeup photos of Ultima Thule out beyond the orbit of Pluto, the most distant Kuiper Belt object to be observed close up. NASA has truly come (or gone) a long way in 50 years.

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