NSN Webinar: Earthrise: The 50th Anniversary

Images: NASA / Ernie Wright
NASA Night Sky Network members joined Ernie Wright on Wednesday, December 5 as he brought us the story of the iconic Earthrise photo taken from Apollo 8 along with the behind the scenes story of how a brilliant visualization recreating this moment was created.

The famous Apollo 8 photograph known as Earthrise, as well as two others taken at about the same time, document the moment on Christmas Eve, 1968, when the Earth was seen for the first time by human eyes over the horizon of another world. Until recently, space historians and the astronauts themselves disagreed about exactly how these photographs came about, including the identity of the photographer. Decades-old debates about Earthrise were finally settled by a visualization that used feature film computer graphics software, Apollo trajectory documents, and data from historical and current NASA spacecraft to accurately recreate the moment when the Earthrise photo was taken. A new encoding of the video at 4K resolution is planned for release this December to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8. This talk will describe both technical and personal aspects of the making of the visualization and the questions that it answers.

About Ernie Wright

Ernie Wright has been using computer graphics to visualize scientific data for over 25 years. His early work included isosurface cloud visualization for the Defense Nuclear Agency Weapon Effects Directorate and terrain visualization for the Central Intelligence Agency Office of Imagery Analysis. He was also a LightWave 3D senior programmer, leading LightWave's third-party developer community as the host of its Internet mailing list and the author of the LightWave Server Development Kit. Since 2008, he has been a programmer and animator at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Scientific Visualization Studio, working primarily with the data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. He has a B.S. in computer and information science with a minor in communication from University of Maryland University College. He's a member of his local astronomy club and still owns the Apollo-era 60mm f/11.7 refractor that his father bought through the Sears catalog.

More Information
NSN members can find a copy of the recoridng (once uploaded), as well as related  information and resources, on its dedicated outreach resource page

Previous NSN Webinars

Images: NASA / Ginger Butcher
NASA Night Sky Network members joined us on November 7, 2018 to hear Ginger Butcher tell the story of the first astronomical observatory in space.  NSN members can find related links for more information and resources for this webinar, on this dedicated outreach resource page

Click here to see a list of all previous webinars

All past webinars are also available on the NSN YouTube page
Upcoming Webinars (all webinars to be held at 6pm PT/9pm ET)

The Latest Astronomy Discoveries with Rick Feinberg from the American Astronomical Society.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Last updated: December 5, 2018

 Logo for Night Sky Network featuring child and astronomer observing the skyNight Sky Network members are committed to bringing astronomy to the public!  NASA/JPL, the ASP, and additional partners proudly support member clubs' outreach events with a variety of free materials and tools in exchange for posting and reporting their events to the NSN calendar system, including: outreach toolkits, quarterly prizes, handouts, webinars with NASA scientists, along with increased visibility for upcoming events posted to the public calendar.

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