Some time ago, I started following Daily Overview on Instagram and have loved watching the patterns of our planet unfold. Daily Overview isn’t our first opportunity to view Earth from above, but it does make me stop (if only for a second) every day to think about a bigger picture.

There is a phenomenon called the Overview Effect, that is reported by astronauts after viewing earth from space for the first time.  It was first reported in 1969 during the Apollo 9 mission by Russell “Rusty” Schweikart as a feeling that the whole universe was profoundly connected.


I first heard about this experience from an episode of On Being with Krista Tippett featuring Nikki Giovani, called “Soul Food, Sex, and Space.”  Krista explained, “it [the Overview Effect] refers to ‘the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth and space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life hanging in a void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish. The conflicts that divide people become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this pale blue dot becomes both obvious and imperative.’”

Today you can follow NASA on Instagram and some of its astronauts on Twitter (more here.)

Nothing like some daily Overview Effect to keep perspective.

P.S.: The term “Overview Effect” was coined by Frank White in his book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution

Photos in the top grid are from the Daily Overview Instagram. Photos in the second grid are from the NASA Instagram.


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  1. Etch

    Thank you for naming the phenomena which I have felt every time I get on a plane and see the streets shrink to arteries! You are a constant inspiration.