此景只应天上有 A view that's out of this world
Earth seen from the International Space Station
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin astounded the world by becoming the first person to travel to outer space. In less than two hours, Gagarin completed a full orbit of the Earth in the Vostok 3KA spacecraft. Less than a month later, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space. The spectacle of looking back at Earth from space has not lost its charm, as you can see in today's picture taken from the International Space Station. Also known as the 'World Space Party,' Yuri's Night is a global celebration of astronomy and a reflection on how space exploration can unite people in a divided world.
地球的近日点 / 从国际空间站看地球
Earth as seen from the International Space Station
We've reached perihelion! Two weeks after winter solstice the Earth's orbit is closer to the sun than at any other time of year—a result of the Earth's elliptical orbit. You may think, 'If we're so close to the sun, why can't I feel the heat?' Well, that's because we're only receiving about 7% more solar energy than normal, which doesn't really have much impact on the weather.
In orbit for Yuri's Night
Sixty years ago today at around 9 AM Moscow time, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to get a view of Earth from space (like this one captured from the ISS by astronaut Jeff Williams). With the famous utterance 'Poyekhali!' ('Off we go!'), Gagarin launched into low Earth orbit in his Vostok 3KA spacecraft, making history in less than two hours with a complete trip around the planet. Landing in rural Russia, he became an instant worldwide celebrity—that is, after convincing puzzled locals he was a comrade and not a space alien.
Of course, with elation came deflation: Gagarin's flight dashed NASA's hopes of making an American the first person in space. But the Soviets' success kicked the Space Race into high gear, setting the stage for a spate of US spaceflights and eventually that first trip to the moon. Now that competition in spaceflight is less bitter, 'Yuri's Night' is observed today by astronomy lovers of all nationalities, celebrating how space exploration can unite the world. It's even a double holiday now: The first US Space Shuttle mission coincidentally launched on Yuri's Night in 1981.