World’s Largest Mandir, Angkor Wat

 

Once upon a time, or around 1580, while cutting a path through the thick Cambodian jungle, Portuguese missionaries came upon huge towers carved into rocks that were in ruins and covered in roots and vines. Continuing on, they discovered an ancient lost city that was twice as large as Manhattan and that nature was trying to swallow. The missionaries had discovered abandoned Angkor Wat—the 500-acre site is one of the world’s largest religious monuments and the most elaborate of the Angkor’s temples. There are more than 1,000 Temples of Angkor which were built from the 9th to 13th centuries during a time when the Kingdom of Cambodia was one of the most powerful civilizations on the planet. There were rarely any inscriptions found in later centuries after 1431, when Angkor was seized by the Thai army. During its prime, as many as 750,000 – one million people lived in Angkor, making it one of the greatest vanishing acts of all time. Archaeologists now know that Angkor Wat and many of its surrounding structures were built to appease “devas” and “asuras” which are angelic demi-Gods of the Hindu religion. Thousands upon thousands of these demi-god beings are carved into every single rock temple at the site. Both Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones Temple of Doom were filmed here. Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. New research claims to have solved the mystery of how the huge stones of Angkor Wats were moved. “The massive sandstone bricks used to construct the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat were brought to the site via a network of hundreds of canals. The findings shed light on how the site’s 5 million to 10 million bricks, some weighing up to 3,300 pounds, made it to the temple from quarries at the base of a nearby mountain.” The mystique of Angkor may cry out to the adventurer in us all, but the roots and trees are now being cut back as Angkor is being restored. So many people come here, about 2 – 3 million a year; all that walking and climbing on the (mostly) sandstone monuments caused additional damage to the archaeological sites at Angkor. These photos hearken to ancient Angkor as the Temples of Doom for a Tomb Raider to explore. [41 Photos, 4 Videos]

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“Echoes of Silence; the beauty and mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm. Angkor, Cambodia,” the photographer wrote. This scene may appeal to the Indiana Jones in all of us. Photo #1 by Peter Nijenhuis

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Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, the city’s most notable edifice. It was built to represent the Hindu “Mountain of the Gods,” and served as a funerary temple. The main temple of Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1150 “by King Suryavarman II,” Wikipedia informs. “Suryavarman ascended to the throne after prevailing in a battle with a rival prince. An inscription says that, in the course of combat, Suryavarman leapt onto his rival’s war elephant and killed him, just as the mythical bird-man Garuda slays a serpent.” Photo #2 by Sam Garza

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Aerial of Angkor Wat. The Earth Observatory explains, “Tucked deep in the Cambodian rainforest, the ancient Angkor Wat temple is considered one of the most valuable architectural sites in Asia. Angkor Wat is the pinnacle of the city of Angkor, capital of the once-powerful Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia. The temple was built by Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150 AD. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat is a representation of Mount Meru, home of the gods and the center of the Hindu universe. In addition to its unique pyramid temple architecture, Angkor Wat is covered with intricate bas-relief carvings of Hindu epics. At the center of Angkor Wat are five towers that represent the five peaks of Mount Meru. The round towers mark out the corners and the center of the innermost square of the complex. Like the mountain peaks they represent, the towers are pointed on top. The pinnacle of each tower is slightly lighter than the surrounding black stone in this image.” Photo #3 by NASA

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Iconic tree at Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia. According to Wikitravel, “Built during the time of king Jayavarman VII and is best known as the temple where trees have been left intertwined with the stonework, much as it was uncovered from the jungle. It might be considered in a state of disrepair but there is a strange beauty in the marvelous strangler fig trees which provide a stunning display of the embrace between nature and the human handiwork. This is one of the most popular temples after Angkor Wat and the Bayon because of the beautiful combinations of wood and stone.” You may recognize a few scenes from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider in this collection of images. Photo #4 by Brian Jeffery Beggerly

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The photographer wrote, “Mythic statues line the causeway over a moat leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom, literally called ‘Great City.’ The images represent a Hindu myth of creation called the Churning of the Sea of Milk. On one side of the causeway, fifty-four guardian deities (called ‘devas’) pull the head of a mythical serpent or ‘naga.’ On the other side, fifty-four images of demon gods (called ‘asuras’) push the tail of the serpent.” Photo #5 by Rene (Taiger808)

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“The Origin of Suffering is Attachment.” Bayon, Cambodia. Destination Truth wrote, “Many carvings depict a direct interaction between the human and spirit world and it is said that malevolent Hindu demons still haunt the vast and overgrown premises to this day. Reports of physical interactions and audible voices around many of the temples, most notably Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon, have erupted over the years. Most recently, Buddhist monks are said to communicate with the spirits during meditation on the premises.” Photo #6 by By James…….

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Chau Say Tevoda; Just east of Angkor Thom, two minor temples line the Victory Way: Thommanon (N) and Chao or Chau Say Tevoda (S), both in the Angkor Wat style. They were built in the 12th century, Thommanon early, Chao Say Tevoda somewhat later, and were planned well before Angkor Thom and the Victory Way which date from the end of the 12th century. Photo #7 by Ricardo Hurtubia

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Phimeanakas was “built at the end of the 10th century, during the reign of Rajendravarman (from 941-968), then rebuilt by Suryavarman II in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple. On top of the pyramid there was a tower. According to legend, the king spent the first watch of every night with a woman thought to represent a Nāga in the tower, during that time, not even the queen was permitted to intrude. Only in the second watch the king returned to his palace with the queen. If the naga who was the supreme land owner of Khmer land did not show up for a night, the king’s day would be numbered, if the king did not show up, calamity would strike his land.” Photo #8 by Tangge

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Finely carved reliefs and corridors from the ruins of the Buddhist temple of Angkor Ta Prohm. It dates to the 12th and 13th century and was built by king Jayavarman VII who is considered to be one of the greatest rulers of the ancient Khmer Empire. Photo #9 by Allie Caulfield

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Detailed reliefs in the underworld. Sandstone bas relief on the hidden wall at the Leper King Terrace, part of the Royal Square of Angkor Thom – Angkor Wat. Photo #10 by Rene (Taiger808)

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Banteay Srei (left): “is a 10th century temple of Khmer architecture dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Consecrated in 967 C.E., Banteay Srei was the only major temple at Angkor not built by a monarch; its construction is credited to a courtier named Yajnyavahara, who served as a counselor to King Rajendravarman.”; Banteay Samre (right): “located ca. 500 m east of the Eastern Baray, is one of the temples of Angkor. It was built in the first half of the 12th century, and has been a thoroughly restorated. It is a complete Hindu temple with an Angkor Wat style sanctuary tower.” Photo #11 by Allie Caulfield & #12 by Richard Socher

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Army of Statues. Video #1 by movieclips

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Tomb Raider (Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia). Wikipedia states, “Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project.” Photo #13 by Matthew Stewart

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“The Secret Passageway to the Treasure,” Trey Ratcliff wrote. “After the crowds of Angkor Wat, it was nice to go find a remote temple in the jungle and be alone. This temple laid under the jungle, completely undiscovered for centuries. The hallway and mysterious chambers seemed to go on forever. If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!” Photo #14 by Trey Ratcliff

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Banteay Srey Temple “is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.” It was “built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a ‘precious gem’, or the ‘jewel of Khmer art’.” Photo #15 by Bernard Oh

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Angkor: Pre Rup, one of the many temple ruins within the Angkor Archaeological Park. It was built “as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction. The temple’s name is a comparatively modern one meaning ‘turn the body’. This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.” Photo #16 by Jimbo7

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“The famous empty doorway of Ta Prohm — ” the photographer wrote, “there’s usually a queue of people lining up to be photographed here!” Wikitravel wrote, “While the temple is very popular, most visitors follow a central route and the sides of the complex can be surprisingly quiet. Note that large sections of the temple are unstable rubble and have been cordoned off, as they are in real danger of collapse. As of 2010, authorities have started to restore Ta Prohm. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is underway to rebuild the temple, much of it seemingly from scratch. Wooden walkways now block some of the previously famous postcard photos.” Photo #17 by Jpatokal

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2 million people a year must feel the call of adventure to explore these ancient ruins. If the site is being repaired, will these famous roots covering the ruins and enhancing the mystique be removed? Left: “Swallowing the Ruins at Ta Prohm.” Right: “Wrapping Around Time ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.” Photo #18 by Trey Ratcliff & #19 by Trey Ratcliff

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Taken in 1965, the weight of time was already crushing Angkor Wat. Photo #20 by H. Grobe

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Trailer. Video #2 by FilmTrailersChannel

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The Angkor Thom Terrace of the Elephants was named for the 350m-long (1,148 feet) carvings of elephants on its eastern face. Photo #21 by Thom Watson

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The photographer for the image on left wrote, “Have you ever been in Angkor Wat? I think it is a must. Fantastic, mysterious, ancient, beautiful, etc…” Right: The cramped corridors of ancient Bayon. “Very little space is left between the inner gallery and the upper terrace.” Photo #22 by alfaneque & #23 by Markalexander100

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Preah Khan temple ruins. The photographer wrote, “A view of the ruins of the temple of Preah Khan at Angkor in Cambodia. Preah Khan was built by the powerful Khmer king Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century who dedicated it to his father, Dharanindravarman II.” Photo #24 by Allie Caulfield

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Neak Pean Temple “is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Preah Khan Baray. The name is derived from the sculptures of snakes (Nāga) running around the base of the temple structure.” Photo #25 by 3coma14

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A view of the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Thom. Photo #26 by Allie Caulfield

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Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century: A temple called Bayonne, Angkor Thom, the Angkor complex. There are 216 massive stone faces adorning the towers of Bayon which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. Photo #27 by David Sim

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Nature reclaiming the temples. Buddha being swallowed by roots at Angkor Archaeological Park. Photo #28 by H. Grobe & #29 by Peter Nijenhuis

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13th century Bayon Khmer Buddhist temple — at Angkor. Photo #30 by Charles J Sharp

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Phnom Bakheng. The photographer wrote, “Just between Angkor Wat and the Bayon lies the temple of Phnom Bakheng, a good walk up the hill and a popular place to witness the sunset as it gives a great view of the surrounding area. The main temple on the top of the hill lies up some pretty steep steps. When climbing down those very steps this view caught my eye and I quickly pulled out my tripod and took a few, dodging passing tourists. I’m also trying to work on some techniques to minimize the HDR psychedelic effect while still maintaining that enhanced reality feeling. Still not there yet, but hopefully good for now.” Photo #31 by stoicviking

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Prasat Suor Prat is a series of 12 towers in Angkor Thom. Photo #32 by Kazenelenbogen

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Prasat Preah Palilay. The new research claims “The grid of canals suggests the ancient builders took a shortcut when constructing the Angkor Wat temple, which may explain how the imposing complex was built in a mere 20 years. Photo #33 by BluesyPete

Ancient Megastructures – Angkor Wat. Video #3 by InuKool

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Roots of Ta Prohm Temple. It looks like a scene you’d step into in a temple exploring adventure video game. Photo #34 by David Pham

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Apsaras, detail of lower pediment. Bayon style, late 12th – early 13th century sandstone. Photo #35 by Vassil

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Left: Angkor Thommanon relief. Right: A statue at the Bayon temple. Photo #36 by Allie Caulfield & #37 by Allie Caulfield

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The 12th Century stone was dedicated to Buddha. Photo #38 by Writer128

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The Srah Srang reservoir was dug in the mid-10th century and has steps that lead down to the water are flanked by two guardian lions. At present Srah Srang measures 700 by 350 m and is still partially flooded. Photo #39 by Samuel Maddox

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Sunset@Angkor Wat. “The temple complex is surrounded by a 174-meter- (570-foot-) wide moat, visible in the large image, that represents the oceans at the edge of the universe,” wrote the Earth Observatory. “A stone causeway leads through the Hindu universe to the temple home of the gods from the west, on the left side of the image. The temple complex itself is a series of buildings on rising terraces like the slopes of a mountain.” Photo #40 by randomix

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Sunset over Angkor Wat. Photo #41 by Ali Catterall

Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS. Video #4 by AhmekKhmer

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Earth at Night

Breathtaking Big Marble That We Call Home Sweet Home [22 Pics, 2 Vids]

December 8th, 2012

NASA has shown us views of the Big Marble, the breathtakingly beautiful planet on which we live because it studies space and the Earth. The first Big Blue Marble photo was released in 1972 and each subsequent release of images have increased in quality so that the newest 2012 release of the Big Black Marble, or Earth at Night, are stunning. The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite was launched last year by NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. It orbits 512 miles above our planet’s surface and has an extremely sensitive sensor that can detect the nocturnal glow produced by Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, it can see the light given off from a single street light or one glowing light on a boat floating alone on the ocean. The VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) “carries a low-light sensor that can distinguish night lights with six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels (dynamic range) than before.” NASA added, “A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before.” So here is the series of the Big Marble in Old, New, Aqua, Blue, White and Black Marble. If you stop to think that this is our home, all of us regardless of where on the globe you are located, then it somehow seems possible that we could achieve peace on Earth around this holiday season for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day. It also shows why we should protect our environment . . . it belongs to your children’s children and us all. Thank you NASA! You ROCK! [22 Photos, 2 Videos]

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“This image of North and South America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The new data was mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.” NASA added, “The day-night band observed Hurricane Sandy, illuminated by moonlight, making landfall over New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Night images showed the widespread power outages that left millions in darkness in the wake of the storm.” Photo #1 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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The “continental United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.” Photo #2 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Black Marble – Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. NASA reported, “Unlike a camera that captures a picture in one exposure, the day-night band produces an image by repeatedly scanning a scene and resolving it as millions of individual pixels. Then, the day-night band reviews the amount of light in each pixel. If it is very bright, a low-gain mode prevents the pixel from oversaturating. If the pixel is very dark, the signal is amplified.” The Earth Observatory wrote of the night lights on our globe, “Scientists are using new images of Earth’s dark side to gain insight on human activity and poorly understood natural events.” Photo #3 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Black Marble Europe at night 2012. “For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night,” said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA’s Colorado State University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. “Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps.” Photo #4 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Black Marble – Asia and Australia. On Out of the Blue and Into the Black, Miller is quoted as saying, “The night is nowhere near as dark as most of us think. In fact, the Earth is never really dark. And we don’t have to be in the dark about what is happening at night anymore either.” Photo #5 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Why is Western Australia So Bright? “Careful observers of the new ‘Black Marble’ images of Earth at night released this week by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have noticed bright areas in the western part of Australia that are largely uninhabited. Why is this area so lit up, many have asked?” The sensor on the satellite is so sensitive that it picked up wild fires at night. Photo #6 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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The image above shows London and the southern half of Great Britain as it appeared on the night of March 27, 2012. NASA Earth Observatory Photo #7 by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS Day Night Band and MODIS Blue Marble data

Earth at Night in HD. Video #1 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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USA East Coast lights on Friday, June 29th, 2012. NASA Earth Observatory Photo #8 by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon using data from the NASA/NOAA satellite S-NPP

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Composite map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. Photo #9 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Black Marble – City Lights 2012. NASA’s Earth Observatory said, “Earth at Night 2012: It’s the end of the night as you know it; you’ll see fine.” Photo #10 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Black Marble 2012, Asia at night. NASA’s Earth Observatory wrote, “Away from human settlements, light still shines. Wildfires and volcanoes rage. Oil and gas wells burn like candles. Auroras dance across the polar skies. Moonlight and starlight reflect off the water, snow, clouds, and deserts. Even the air and ocean sometimes glow.” Photo #11 by NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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Most Amazing High Definition Image of Earth – Blue Marble 2012. Photo #12 by NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

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The Blue Marble 2012 turned into a ‘White Marble’ with this snow and ice Arctic View. “Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite provided the VIIRS instrument enough time (and longitude) to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing the Arctic, Europe, and Asia.” Photo #13 by NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP

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NASA Blue (Aqua) Marble 2007 West. Photo #14 by Reto Stöckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA

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NASA Blue (Aqua) Marble 2007 East. Photo #15 by Reto Stöckli, based on data from NASA and NOAA

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NASA’s Spacecraft View of Aurora Australis from Space. NASA file image acquired September 11, 2005. Photo #16 by NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

From space, the aurora is a crown of light that circles each of Earth’s poles. The satellite captured this view of the aurora australis (southern lights) on September 11, 2005, four days after a record-setting solar flare sent plasma—an ionized gas of protons and electrons—flying towards the Earth. The ring of light that the solar storm generated over Antarctica glows green in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, shown in this image. The observations of the aurora are overlaid onto NASA’s satellite-based Blue Marble image. From the Earth’s surface, the ring would appear as a curtain of light shimmering across the night sky. Video #2 by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio via LittleSDOHMI

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Blue Marble – 2002. Photo #17 by NASA Earth Observatory

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Blue Marble 2002: At the time, “This spectacular ‘blue marble’ image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date.” Photo #18 by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights

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Blue Marble 2000. Photo #19 created by Reto Stockli with the help of Alan Nelson, under the leadership of Fritz Hasler

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Earth image and star field background, released in 2000. Photo #20 by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio / The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC) / Laura Rocchio (NASA/GSFC)

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First Blue Marble image captured from Apollo 17 on Dec 7, 1972. “View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast. Astronaut photograph AS17-148-22727 courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.” Photo #21 by NASA

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What is your favorite…Old, New, Aqua, Blue, White or Black Marble? Blue Marble – Astronaut photograph 1972; Blue Marble 2002; Aqua Marble 2005; Bottom row left to right: Blue Marble 2012; White Marble 2012; Black Marble 2012. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center wrote, “Since we have escaped the bounds of gravity, visions of Earth have inspired and captured the imagination. Here are a few of the most iconic views of our planet returned by both living astronauts and robotic spacecraft in orbit throughout the space age.” Photo #22 by Apollo 1972 / NASA / NASA Earth Observatory