There are times when NASA makes us realise just how much we take the skies for granted.
In a series of images captured by a camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, NASA showed off the “dark side” of the moon – a view we never have on earth- as it passed by our fully illuminated planet.
The photographs were taken by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), which is positioned in between the earth and the sun.
The satellite, orbiting one million miles away from earth, is designed to monitor solar winds and around twice a year, it catches the Earth and moon together.
“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon,” Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland noted.
“Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”
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EPIC is set to begin regular observations next month, looking at ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere.
However, we can also expect to get more detailed views of the Earth as NASA says it will post daily colour images of Earth to a dedicated public website.
Obviously, the pictures won’t be in real time, but they will become available 12 to 36 hours after NASA captures them.
This is not a first for NASA. In 2008, its Deep Impact spacecraft took similar images from 31 million miles away, showing the moon passing in front of a partially illuminated Earth.