The far side of the moon, or the dark side of the moon revealed itself to the EPIC camera aboard NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory.
This series of images captures the far side of the moon from a unique perspective, as the dark side is not so dark anymore, but fully lit by sunlight as the moon is passing the sunlit side of Earth.
This was a rare occurrence for astronomers around the world. The first images that revealed the far side of the moon as it was fully enveloped in sunlight were captured in 1959 by the Soviet probe Luna 3.
Nonetheless, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera or EPIC, boasting 4 megapixel and residing with the Deep Space Climate Observatory is bound to captured similar images increasingly often.
The images revealing the sunlit far side of the moon were taken from one miles in the deep space, where NASA’s satellite is perfectly balanced at Lagrange Point 1. The image-series was taken on July 16th, in the timeframe 11:50-16:45 UTC, capturing the moment when the moon was passing the Pacific Ocean and reaching North America as our home planet rotated slowly beneath.
It was a delight to observe the two celestial bodies together, sunlit at the same time. Typically, we can’t observe the far side of the moon as the moon is tidally locked to Earth. Nonetheless, EPIC will now captured the previously shrouded in mystery dark side of the moon two times per year.
Adam Szabo, scientist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center described the images:
“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon. Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface”.
NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory was launched on February 11th, 2015, as a joint project involving the space agency, the U.S. Air Force, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Its main mission is to offer valuable real-time insight on solar winds, allowing the agencies and institutions to accurately develop strategies or space weather alerts.
Besides keeping an eye on the far side of the moon every now and then, EPIC is bound to send back data on the Earth’s ozone layers, cloud height, aerosols in the atmosphere or on Earth’s vegetation.
Photo Credits: financialexpress.com