The brightening outer side of the eclipsed Sun can be seen peering out from behind the Earth. Similar to a slim Crescent Moon, the Sun is almost impossible to see on the dark spread of space. NASA astronauts on board the racket that headed towards the Moon managed to snap this eclipse picture 50 years ago.
The iconic Apollo 12 mission had astronauts such as Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad, Alan Bean, and Richard Gordon trying for the second time to perform a lunar landing. Apollo 12 exploded from Florida’s Cape Kennedy approximately five months after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins put the first astronaut on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
NASA said: “Fifty years ago on November 14, 1969, Apollo 12 launched at 11.22 am EST (4.22 pm GMT) from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on a mission to land on the Moon’s Ocean of Storms. When the Earth moved directly between the Sun and the Apollo 12 spacecraft on the journey home from the Moon, the crew captured this image of a solar eclipse a 16mm motion picture camera.”
Apollo 12 landed on the lunar surface on November 19, making it the first time-ever a crewed spacecraft found itself next to another spacecraft. The program aimed to land next to the Surveyor 3, a probe the space agency launched to the Moon back in 1967.
NASA said that the aim of the first mission was to prove that a manned landing on Earth’s natural satellite was possible. Apollo 12 was more determined, targeting a landing in the Ocean of Storms and managing to complete two Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) or spacewalks on the Moon’s surface while it stayed there for a period of 31.5 hours.
“An added bonus of the pinpoint landing involved a visit to Surveyor 3, a robotic spacecraft that had been on the Moon since April 1967,” NASA said.