That is Earth seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.
Carl Sagan, Astronomer:
"That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
As a kid I was always amazed by the night sky. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an area where the atmosphere wasn't tarnished by a thick cloud of smog and crap. Everynight I was able to see the better part of the sky And I got to see the Milky Way in all of its beauty. City folks never get to see that. Or when they do get the chance, they hardly take the time to appreciate it.
I'm completely captivated every single time.
Science fiction likes to talk about time-travel, but what many of us don't realize is that we do that every night. The light we see from the stars above is millions of years old. Millions. The night sky that you see today is a snapshot of what was really there millions of years ago. Hell, even the light from the sun takes 8 minutes to reach Earth. If the sun blew up right now, we wouldn't know about it until 8 minutes later. Just thinking about the shear numbers of size, time and distance that I find completely fascinating.
But there's something about this photo that really gets to me.
It reminds me of my early grade school years when I finally learned my first constellations, like Cassiopeia, Orion and the Summer Triangle. It reminds me that no matter how much we change, some things will always be the same. And it reminds me that all the pain, heartbreak and jealousy I've endured is really just insignificant in the grander scheme of things.
But most of all, it reminds me that even the smallest things in life -- just like that tiny pale blue dot in the picture -- may actually mean the world to someone else.
It's just a matter of perspective.
Inspired by Futility Closet