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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Celestia Recreation: Apollo 17 'Blue Marble', 7th Dec 1972 at 10:49 UTC, 29,000 km over 30°S 31°E

I love doing these because I found an error in the 'Blue Marble' Wikipedia entry, someone was careless with their timezone conversions and flagged this image as taken at 05:39 UTC which is 6 minutes after launch, clearly wrong.  Also why I always check facts against primary sources.

Blue Marble Wikipedia error

Here is our quarry:

Image Credit: AS17-148-22727 [and Flickr]
The published version that was cleaned up from the scan:

Here is what we know:

Apollo 17 launched on 7th Dec 1972 at 12:33am EST (0533 UTC) [Apollo By The Numbers][Apollo 17]

The 'Blue Marble' frame (aka AS17-148-22727) was taken 5 hours 6 minutes later (probably by Jack Schmitt).

So that puts us at 5:39am EST (1039 UTC).  See the mix up?

There is also an amazing site called Apollo In Real-Time where you can follow along the whole long, view the photos from around that time in the mission, listen to the mission control recordings, and so forth.

So here we are 7th Dec 1972, 10:49 UTC, about 29,000 km (18,000 miles) over about 30°S 31°E [found here].  That's just an incredible level accuracy.

.Celestia CEL

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