Galapagos Islands Image
The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft captured several
stunning images of Earth during a gravity assist swingby of its
home planet on Aug. 2, 2005. One pictures, snapped when MESSENGER was 34,692
miles (55,831 kilometers) above Earth, shows the Galapagos Islands as tiny
specks peeking through an opening in clouds of the brightly lit dayside
of the planet. The line dividing day and night cuts a swath through South
America, with night about to fall on the western half of the continent.
The large bright spot to the west of South America is the Sun's light scattering
off ocean waves.
Click here for a diagram and close-up of the islands.
Click on the image for a bigger image.