In July ,Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) snapped several epic images of the moon zooming across the sunlit side of the Earth from 1.6 million miles away. The photos were later mixed into one .gif file depicting the far side of the moon but only for a couple of seconds.
NASA imagery shows the dark side of the moon which cannot be seen from Earth ever in a fully illuminated stance. DSCOVR, a space “weather” satellite designed to measure solar winds in real time and beam data back to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), captured the unique images with help from its 4-megapixel Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC).
EPIC takes snapshots of the lit side of our planet on a daily basis and sends them to Earth. NOAA scientists interpret those images so they can make analyses and forecasts on levels of ozone, aerosols, cloud formations, and vegetation across the globe. In September, EPIC is scheduled to constantly update that data, which will be introduced into a database that will help researchers study better those variations.
Nevertheless, images of Earth and moon coming together can only be snapped twice a year because that’s how often DSCOVR satellite enters the orbital plane of our natural satellite, NASA experts explained.
Current images were taken on July 16. The moon was crossing the Pacific, while the North Pole mirrors how tilted Earth is during this part of the year. The dark side of the moon was first photographed in the 1960s by Soviet Union’s Luna 3 spacecraft. NASA spacecrafts also provided us with impressive images of the moon’s hidden side.
That side remains visible to a ground observer because the natural satellite is tidally locked to our planet. Yet sometimes about 18 percent of the “dark” side of the moon can be seen from Earth because of a phenomenon called libration. On the other hand the far side of the moon is not shrouded in darkness as the “dark side” idiom may suggests. Scientists found that both sides are equally bathed in sunlight. It is dark because it is unexplored, mysterious and invisible from Earth.
About seven years ago, NASA released another set of images of the moon crossing past our planet. The photos were snapped from a 31-million-mile distance by the Deep Impact satellite. The moon was only partially receiving light from the sun.
NASA team explained that the bright colors we see in the EPIC imagery are the result of combining three different monochrome layers taken by the camera 30 seconds apart. EPIC usually takes images in different spectral wavelengths from UV to infrared for scientific purposes.
Image Source: NASA