The Pale Blue Dot is an iconic photograph of Earth taken Feb. 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1 at a distance of 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from the Sun. The image inspired the title of scientist Carl Sagan's book, "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space," in which he wrote: "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us."
In 2020, for the image's 30th anniversary, NASA published a new version of the original Voyager photo: Pale Blue Dot Revisited, obtained using modern image processing techniques "while attempting to respect the original data and intent of those who planned the images." Brightness levels and colors were rebalanced to enhance the area containing the Earth, and the image was enlarged, appearing brighter and less grainy than the original. The direction of the Sun is toward the bottom, where the image is brightest.
Voyager 1 was speeding out of the solar system — beyond Neptune and about 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from the Sun — when mission managers commanded it to look back toward home for a final time. It snapped a series of 60 images that were used to create the first “family portrait” of our solar system.
The picture that would become known as the Pale Blue Dot shows Earth within a scattered ray of sunlight. Voyager 1 was so far away that — from its vantage point — Earth was just a point of light about a pixel in size.
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