Sunday, October 28, 2012

A cloudless view of earth from space

I recently bought a used book over at the Davis flea.
Notice that there are no clouds... very odd ... but look when it was published:
1960! Yeah that is right before people went to space; it was before the Apollo program and photos of earth seen from the moon being distributed worldwide. Since then, artists do not made the mistake of drawing earth from space without clouds.

This picture from the Galileo spacecraft is a good example of what the view would really have looked like.

This blog post is based on another blog post I came across sometime ago, which actually had a picture of the book too. I would love to link them but I haven't been able to find it.


  1. How many countries that are in that book no longer exist?

    1. The USSR is the big one. There are a lot of non-PC references to "joined the modern world" and "modern life"

  2. While your theory as to why it doesn't show clouds is interesting, (if you excuse the expression) it doesn't hold water.

    Even in the days of the dinosaur of 1960 before we had the beautiful color pictures of earth from space we could all look up in the sky and see clouds. It probably didn't show clouds, since it’s an ATLAS of maps! Have you ever seen a map with clouds over it?

    Also, since I have some time because I’m off from work due to the hurricane (with some very impressive moving clouds now viewable on the Internet), I’ll review some ancient history.
    1. Sputnik was launched on October 4, 1957
    2. The first US satellite, Explorer I was launched on January 31, 1958
    3. The first weather satellite, TRIOS, was launched on April 1, 1960
    At least the first two events occurred before the publication of the Atlas.

    Finally, you missed making a more interesting observation: Why does it show the earth as a perfect sphere? Even Isaac Newton claimed that the Earth was an oblate spheroid, although we could not see it with our own eyes until those great pictures from geosynchronous orbit, sometime after the dinosaurs but before the Internet.

    1. I think the illustration on the cover is not a map because

      -There are no borders between countries
      -The blackness of space can be seen behind the earth
      -Maps of earth don't usually include the moon

      The first images from space did come really early, from V2's after the war. Were they prevalent? Did you see any around growing up in newspapers etc?

  3. Why didn't you just get the Kindle edition?