First ever photos showing spherical Earth from space were not taken on April Fool's Day
Photos from space or near-space orbit show Earth's curvature years before April 1, 1960.
(Reuters) - The first images showing the curvature of Earth from space were not captured on April Fool’s Day in 1960. Some people are sharing this false claim online with the wider idea that it discredits scientific proof of the planet’s spherical shape. However, pictures showing Earth’s curvature have been taken from space or near-space orbit since Oct. 24, 1946.
An example of one meme, seen on account sharing Flat Earth conspiracy theories (here), includes a black and white photo of Earth from space along with text that reads: “The first ‘photo’ of the curvature was published on April Fool’s Day.” It is followed by a cry-laugh emoji.
Similar posts can be seen on Facebook (here, here and here) and Twitter (here).
Although the picture in the meme was indeed captured on April 1, 1960, it actually shows “the first photo of Earth (taken) from a weather satellite,” according to the National Aeronautical and Space Agency’s (NASA) website (here).
There are earlier images taken from other objects in space or near-space orbit that also show the planet’s curvature.
Rocket-borne cameras captured the first photos of Earth from roughly 65 miles above the surface on Oct. 24, 1946 (here). A Nov. 28, 1946, Gaumont British Newsreel documented the footage (here), which shows the planet’s spherical shape.
On March 9, 1947, scientists in New Mexico, U.S., captured the first pictures of Earth from more than 100 miles up (here), which also showed the planet’s curvature. Similarly, on Oct. 5, 1954, a rocket launched by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory captured colour images of a curved Earth from 100 miles above ground (here).
False. Photos from space or near-space orbit show Earth’s curvature years before April 1, 1960.