NASA's DSCOVR satellite shows far side of the moon in different light
NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft has snapped rare views of the Moon transiting across Earth's disk. The images grant us a seldom-seen look at the so-called dark side of our planet's nearest celestial companion.
The DSCOVR spacecraftis positioned at lagrange point 1, one million miles distant from its homeworld with a missionto constantly monitor the fully-lit face of our planet, providingnear real-time solar wind observations. Last month the spacecraftreturned its first natural color view of Earth – a category ofimage also known as a blue marble.
The views of the far side of the Moon presented by DSCOVR are utterly irreconcilable tothe aspect of Earth humanity has gazed at throughout our briefexistence. This quirk is due to the fact that the Moon is tidallylocked with Earth, resulting in the rocky body constantly showing usthe same side.
The far side of theMoon is relatively bare when compared to its Earth-facing disk. Thissaid, viewers can clearly pick out the distinctive Tsiolkovskiycrater on the lower section of the Sun-facing disk, along with theMare Moscoviense on the upper left of the satellite.
"It is surprising howmuch brighter Earth is than the moon," states Adam Szabo,project scientist for DSCOVR at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center."Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space comparedto the lunar surface."
The images were takenon July 16, using the spacecraft's 4-megapixel Earth PolychromaticImaging Camera (EPIC), with the opportunity to shoot the Earth andMoon together occurring only twice a year. NASA is planning to uploadfrequent shots of the blue marble to a dedicated DSCOVR web page,starting in September of this year.
Scroll down for the animated video of the transit.