Orbital View: New Year, Same Planet

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Well, 2015 was quite a year. Thanks to a handful of astronauts and high-tech cameras , we’ve been able to watch it pass through beautiful orbital views of Earth, from its deep-green rain forests and royal-blue oceans, to its gray concrete jungles and cityscapes.

For the last Orbital View of this year, let’s go with an oldie but a goodie.

This photo was captured by the crew of Apollo 17 in 1972, and was the first photograph taken of the whole round Earth.

Happy New Year.