The Apollo 8 astronauts saw the first Earthrise ever witnessed by human beings during the fourth revolution of the spacecraft around the Moon. William Anders took three photographs with the 250mm telephoto lens during the event. The first was black and white, followed by two color photographs.

While one of the color Earthrise photographs [NASA AS8-13-2383] was published by NASA and extensively used by picture editors around the world, this equally startling color photograph of the first Earthrise witnessed by human beings is very rare.

“When I looked up and saw the Earth coming up on this very stark, beat-up lunar horizon, an Earth that was the only color that we could see, a very fragile-looking Earth, a very delicate looking Earth, I was immediately almost overcome by the thought that here we came all this way to the Moon, and yet the most significant thing we’re seeing is our own Home Planet, the Earth.”

—William Anders (Poole, pg. 2)

From the mission transcript (photograph taken T+075:49:09 after launch):

075:48:42 Borman:

Well, take several of them.

075:48:43 Lovell:

Take several of them! Here, give it to me.

075:48:44 Anders:

Wait a minute, let’s get the right setting, here now; just calm down. Calm down, Lovell.

075:48:49 Lovell:

Well, I got it ri - Oh, that’s a beautiful shot.

075:48:54 Lovell:

250 at f/11.

075:49:07 Anders:


075:49:08 Lovell:

Now vary the - vary the exposure a little bit.

075:49:09 Anders:

I did. I took two of them.

075:49:11 Lovell:

You sure we got it now?

075:49:12 Anders:

Yes, we’ll get - we’ll - It’ll come up again, I think.