Happy Holidays to All Who Share This Pale, Blue Dot

Candice Gaukel Andrews December 25, 2014 12

From space, our oceans—combined with the atmosphere—make planet Earth look blue. ©From “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” PBS

Of all the beautiful nature photographs that you have seen over the years, perhaps none is more meaningful than the one titled Pale Blue Dot.

The photographer of this particular artwork is the Voyager 1 space probe, which was launched on September 5, 1977. Early in 1990, after the ship had completed its primary mission and was leaving the solar system, Dr. Carl Sagan—astrochemist; astronomer; author of more than 600 scientific papers, popular articles and books; and the co-writer and presenter of the award-winning 1980 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, the most widely watched PBS program in history—asked NASA to command Voyager 1 to turn its camera around and take a photograph of Earth.

The photograph that is titled “Pale, Blue Dot” was taken by Voyager 1. ©From “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” PBS

Sometime between February 14, 1990, and June 6, 1990, Voyager returned one, particularly grainy image taken from a record distance of about 3.7 billion miles away from home. Our planet is depicted at less than a pixel: a pale, blue dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics. You can see the photo above and in the video shown below.

On this Christmas Day, I wish all of you, on this pale dot that we inhabit together, peace.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,



  1. Philippa Benson January 3, 2015 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan’s comments are oh so relevant today!

  2. Dennis Williamson January 2, 2015 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Thanks for your thoughtful Holiday message and another inspiring article and images, Candice. You do a great job – Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!

  3. Paul Zukowski December 30, 2014 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Seek the path to peace, indeed.

  4. Lawan Bukar Marguba December 30, 2014 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Thank you. Wishing you all the best for the coming year.

  5. Martine V. December 30, 2014 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Happy Holidays Candice…

  6. Venkatasamy Ramakrishna December 30, 2014 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Something to seriously reflect upon Candice.
    Happy New Year to you and your team.

  7. Nadine K. December 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Amazing & so poignantly true…..hope the world’s leaders could see it & wake up. To save it!

  8. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto December 27, 2014 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Thank you; Happy Holidays

  9. MJ Graham December 26, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

    A gentle reminder of our place in the vast universe – vulnerable yet precious. Thank you!

  10. Len Rosen December 26, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Our perspective in the last 50 years as a species has been altered forever by the kind of picture NASA was able to record back in 1990. How tiny we are in this vast Universe. A lifeboat floating in an inky black sea. How fortunate we are to be a part of this planet and all the life that shares it with us.

  11. Ingrid Laas December 25, 2014 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Timeless. Thank you for sharing!!

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