First photograph of the Earth and Moon together, December 22, 1966

Space Mission
ATS 1, December 22, 1966

Taken by the B&W Spin Scan Cloud Camera on board the geostationary satellite ATS I

Photo Description
Vintage gelatin silver print on fiber-based paper, 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), with NASA HQ caption numbered “67- H-63” on the verso
20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in)

“On December 22, 1966, ATS-1 captured the first image of Earth and the Moon together, a feat often mistakenly attributed to Voyager 1 (which captured the first single-frame image that showed the entire Earth and Moon)”.

[NASA caption] Both the Earth and the Moon (upper right corner) can be seen in this photograph recorded by ATS-I from its stationary orbit some 22,300 miles above the Earth. This is the first photograph of the Earth and Moon together from the stationary orbit. In this picture, the Moon is more than 270,000 miles away from the ATS-I spacecraft. The picture was recorded with the ATS-I’s Spin Scan Cloud Cover Camera (SCCC) which generates one line of a 2,000- line picture each time the spin-stabilized spacecraft rotates. The spacecraft spins from west to east at a rate of about 100 revolutions per minute. At this rate, it takes about 20 minutes to record one picture. The jagged edge of Earth photo at right is due to scan lines when receiveing the photo. This photo was taken at 1:18p.m., E.S.T., on December 22, 1966.