LIFE, 10 January 1969, ppg. 22-23

About three hours and thirty minutes after launch, the crew of Apollo 8 was already further from Earth than any humans before them and experienced a never before seen view of the curvature of the Earth from 6,500 nautical miles away.

The Atlantic Ocean and the west coast of Africa are clearly visible. The photograph was taken by William Anders with the 80mm lens.

From the mission transcript when the photograph was taken:

003:35:44 Borman:

We see the Earth now, almost as a disk.

003:35:49 Collins (Mission Control):

Good show. Get a picture of it.

003:35:51 Borman:

We are.

003:35:54 Borman:

Tell Conrad he lost his record.

003:35:59 Lovell:

We have a beautiful view of Florida now. We can see the Cape, just the point.

003:36:05 Collins:


003:36:06 Lovell:

And at the same time, we can see Africa. West Africa is beautiful. I can also see Gibraltar at the same time I’m looking at Florida.

003:36:20 Collins:

Sounds good. Get a picture of it. What window are you looking out?

003:36:29 Lovell:

The center window.

003:36:30 Collins:

Roger. [Pause.]

003:36:39 Collins:

Are your windows clear so far? [Long pause.]

003:36:39 Public Affairs Officer (Mission Control):

This is Apollo Control, Houston. The crew seems to be pretty settled down after their Translunar Injection burn and they are getting some time on the window. We just heard Jim Lovell report he could see Florida perfectly. By the way, they are at about 6,500 [nautical] miles [12,000 km] above the Earth now. He said he had a beautiful view of Florida and then his gaze roamed a little bit to the other side of the window and he could also see Gibraltar. The crew reminded the Control Center here that Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon would have to step aside. Their altitude record(1,368 km on Gemini 11) has been exceeded.