The moon we never see

Here’s a view of the moon we never see. Until now. From NASA:

MoonEarth

…satellite images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away. Credits: NASA/NOAA
The dark side of the moon is facing us on Earth as the far side is in bright sunlight.

From a Million Miles Away, NASA Camera Shows Moon Crossing Face of Earth

A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. The series of test images shows the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon that is never visible from Earth.

The images were captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. From its position between the sun and Earth, DSCOVR conducts its primary mission of real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

And here’s the animation of images:

EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America.The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.

The lunar far side lacks the large, dark, basaltic plains, or maria, that are so prominent on the Earth-facing side. The largest far side features are Mare Moscoviense in the upper left and Tsiolkovskiy crater in the lower left. A thin sliver of shadowed area of moon is visible on its right side.

“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon,” said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”

Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, NASA will post daily color images of Earth to a dedicated public website. These images, showing different views of the planet as it rotates through the day, will be available 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired.

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3 Comments

  1. Mike C

     /  7th August 2015

    @George

    How come the moon doesn’t rotate on an axis like the earth does?

    Reply
    • “The moon orbits the Earth once every 27.322 days. It also takes approximately 27 days for the moon to rotate once on its axis. As a result, the moon does not seem to be spinning but appears to observers from Earth to be keeping almost perfectly still. Scientists call this sychronous rotation.

      The side of the moon that perpetually faces Earth is known as the near side. The opposite or “back” side is the far side. Sometimes the far side is called the dark side of the moon, but this is inaccurate. When the moon is between the Earth and the sun, during the new moon phase, the back side of the moon is bathed in daylight.”

      http://www.space.com/24871-does-the-moon-rotate.html

      Reply
  2. Zedd

     /  8th August 2015

    COOL !

    Reply

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