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NASA’s Blue Marble 2012 Is A Fake

NASAGoddard has just celebrated on Twitter the fact that “Blue Marble 2012 with nearly 3.2 million views is now “one of the all time most viewed images” on @flickr“. That’s nice apart from the fact that it is a fake.

Even the Bad Astronomer was half-fooled initially, perhaps by the enthusiastic caption that still refers to a “hemisphere. However, as it should be clear given the relative size of the USA to the rest of the world, the “blue marble” does not show a hemisphere, and should be considered as “a picture taken with a huge huge fish-eye lens“.

A quick trip to Google Earth shows how a real Blue Marble would have looked like, minus the clouds:









This story has however a happier ending in the newst “Blue Marble”, the one showing Africa.

I can happily report it is the way it should’ve been . See Google Earth again:

Nice to see somebody at NASA still interested in the real world.

3 replies on “NASA’s Blue Marble 2012 Is A Fake”

Neither image is taken from a point “over the equator” … which is correct in its own way, but then, NASA’s implied statement that the “circle” of the image shows one hemisphere of the earth is incorrect.

Satellites move “up and down” with respect to the equator based on their original launch point and direction of original launch – assuming no mid-orbit maneuvering is done. So, it is reasonable for a low-earth orbiting satellite to be showing images that are NOT symmetric about the equator. So, to correct, the first image – the one showing a “magnified” northern hemisphere focused on the US and Canada – needs to be adjusted based on the actual range. As shown above, it is not showing an entire hemisphere.

there is a diameter of earth that should correspond with the width of the shown land mass. this 2012 blue marble is passed off as a look at the entire globe. why would the width be different to the entire sphere? higher or lower altitude doesn’t change the dimensions of the surface when the entire sphere is in the picture. north america this large would have direct correlation to the oceans no matter the height this composite was created.

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