# What part of the Earth was visible to Apollo 8 when the Christmas message was broadcast in 1968?

i.e., from what parts of the Earth would it have been possible to directly listen to the broadcast with a shortwave an amateur radio receiver?

On a related note, which of NASA's tracking stations were in view?

• I don't think Apollo 8 had a shortwave transmitter! In order to have reasonable transmission antenna gain, and to reliably penetrate the ionosphere, microwaves were (and are) used. Shortwave is only about 1.6 to 30 MHz, with huge wavelengths of 188 to about 10 meters. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave_radio – uhoh Dec 23 '17 at 15:08
• @uhoh: you are right about no shortwave transmitter! See 1, 2. But there were radio atmateurs listening 3, 4 – Uwe Dec 23 '17 at 16:54
• @Uwe those are great, thanks! The svengrahn site and the old CQ articles especially :-) – uhoh Dec 23 '17 at 16:59
• My bad, I said "shortwave" when I meant "amateur radio" - you guys are right, thanks for the correction :) – FKEinternet Dec 24 '17 at 5:30

The reading began at 03 14 06 56 of the mission, which is to say, 3 days, 14 hours, and almost 7 minutes after launch. They launched at 12:51 UTC on Dec 21, 1968 (just before 8 a.m. at Cape Canaveral). So, doing the conversion, that was 2 minutes before 10 p.m. on the east coast of the US, and just before 7 p.m. on the west coast.

Spacelog.org has the full transcript of the mission in searchable and linkable format. The reading occurred here.

According to this Day and Night World Map of that moment, the Moon was directly over Hawaii.

With the proper equipment, someone in the Americas or on the Pacific Rim could have listened in.

• @FKEinternet My pleasure. Merry Christmas. – kim holder Dec 24 '17 at 21:35

The other answers show in more visible terms but there is a more direct way of seeing who could have heard it.

Remember that radio and light are both electromagnetic waves and we have a direct picture of where light would be visible.

Bill Anders's photograph

OK not exactly when the verse was given. I wrote this based on my memory and thought this was taken at the exact time but it was worth getting this photo in :)

• That's an interesting way to look at it! Does the photo have a timestamp? Is there a way to establish the time it was taken relative to the time of of the broadcast? – uhoh Dec 24 '17 at 11:49
• @uhoh Sorry I forgot that tyhe image gets copied from the oriuginal I'll add the credits – mmmmmm Dec 24 '17 at 11:52
• As on filem no timestamp - – mmmmmm Dec 24 '17 at 12:05
• @uhoh: Digital hasselblad cameras sold today does have a timestamp for each photo, but those hasselblads used for the Apollo missions did not expose time information on film. Timestamping in those times required a pencil and a notebook. – Uwe Dec 24 '17 at 12:19
• Looks like ASB-14-2383 (here and here and here). " On Earth 240,000 statute miles away the sunset terminator crosses Africa. The crew took the photo around 10:40 a.m. Houston time on the morning of Dec. 24, and that would make it 15:40 GMT on the same day. The South Pole is in the white area near the left end of the terminator. North and South America are under the clouds." – uhoh Dec 24 '17 at 12:41