I was browsing a few NASA pictures when I came across the above photo of Earth. (Courtesy NASA) It is not an artists depiction...it is an actual photo taken from space, of our world...our Earth.
I have personally observed 6 of our neighboring planets through various telescopes, one of which is quite powerful. I have seen these planets with my own eyes, with remarkable detail and clarity. To give you an example of the detail I am speaking of, I have seen one of Jupiters moons (Io) pass in front of the planet and have watched for an hour as the shadow of this moon made its way across the face of Jupiter! I have seen the polar ice caps on Mars and have seen not only the rings of Saturn, but the separation of several ring groups. These planets are simply awe inspiring when seen first hand and they are each unique in their features and their character.
I have never seen the Earth... I mean, I see it every day, but only in the way one see's a mountain when standing on it. When you stand on the summit of a mountain, you see everything else around you...except...the mountain.
That is what struck me when I saw this photo of Earth. How little I "see it", and how much I take it for granted. The only planet in our solar system that supports life...an extraordinary amount of life! It has a variety of terrestrial features including majestic mountains, barren deserts, and dense jungles. There are huge oceans and bright colors of blue and green and tan and a visible atmosphere that we see as white clouds.
If you look closely at this photo, (click on it to make it larger) you can make out the soft reflection of the Sun in the Pacific Ocean, just off the west coast of Mexico! (Iam sure most dont see this until prompted to look) I stared at this photo for a few moments, taken by its clarity, but more so by the stunning features and complex beauty that simply outshines all the other planets I have ever looked at.
To quote a line made famous by Louis Armstrong...What a Wonderful World!