That Pale Blue Dot


This is an updated version of the Pale Blue Dot image taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft 30 years ago today. It was created using modern image-processing software and techniques while trying to remain faithful to the original. Like the original, this new color view shows the Earth as a single blue pixel in the vastness of space. Rays of sunlight scattered within the camera optics stretch across the scene, one of which intersects with Earth. Look closely at the stripe just right of center. That speck a bit past half way up isn’t dust on your screen. It’s the Earth.

The image was taken just before Voyager 1’s cameras were turned off to conserve power because the probe would not make another planetary flyby. Shutting down instruments and other systems on the two Voyager spacecraft has been a gradual and ongoing process that has helped keep them running as they have left the Solar System.

Image Credit: NASA

You Are Here


This image of the Earth, called Pale Blue Dot, is a part of a family portrait of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. The spacecraft took 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system looking back from a distance of over 4 billion miles from Earth. From that distance Earth is a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. At the time its picture was taken, Earth happen to lie right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image near the sun. This enlarged image of the Earth was taken through three color filters—violet, blue and green—and recombined to produce the color image. The background noise in the image is an artifact resulting from the high magnification.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL