DSCOVR Satellite Views Moon Crossing Face of Earth
Science & Technology

DSCOVR Satellite Views Moon Crossing Face of Earth

This animation options precise satellite tv for pc pictures of the far facet of the moon, illuminated by the solar, because it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Digicam (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth – a million miles away. Credit: NASA/NOAA

Scientists reveal a singular view of the moon because it moved in entrance of the sunlit facet of Earth final month.

A NASA digicam aboard the Deep House Local weather Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite tv for pc captured a singular view of the moon because it moved in entrance of the sunlit facet of Earth final month. The sequence of take a look at pictures reveals the absolutely illuminated “darkish facet” of the moon that’s by no means seen from Earth.

The photographs had been captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Digicam (EPIC), a 4 megapixel CCD digicam and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite tv for pc orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. From its place between the solar and Earth, DSCOVR conducts its major mission of real-time photo voltaic wind monitoring for the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EPIC maintains a relentless view of the absolutely illuminated Earth because it rotates, offering scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud top and aerosols within the environment. As soon as EPIC begins common observations subsequent month, the digicam will present a sequence of Earth pictures permitting examine of each day variations over the complete globe. About twice a 12 months the digicam will seize the moon and Earth collectively because the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital aircraft of the moon.

These pictures had been taken between 3:50 p.m. and eight:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, exhibiting the moon transferring over the Pacific Ocean close to North America. The North Pole is within the higher left nook of the picture, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage level of the spacecraft.

The far facet of the moon was not seen till 1959 when the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft returned the primary pictures. Since then, a number of NASA missions have imaged the lunar far facet in nice element. The identical facet of the moon all the time faces an earthbound observer as a result of the moon is tidally locked to Earth. Meaning its orbital interval is similar as its rotation round its axis.

In Could 2008 NASA’s Deep Impression spacecraft captured an analogous view of Earth and the moon from a distance of 31 million miles away. The sequence of pictures confirmed the moon passing in entrance of our dwelling planet when it was solely partially illuminated by the solar.

EPIC’s “pure shade” pictures of Earth are generated by combining three separate monochrome exposures taken by the digicam in fast succession. EPIC takes a sequence of 10 pictures utilizing completely different narrowband spectral filters — from ultraviolet to close infrared — to supply a range of science merchandise. The pink, inexperienced and blue channel pictures are utilized in these shade pictures.

Combining three pictures taken about 30 seconds aside because the moon strikes produces a slight however noticeable digicam artifact on the appropriate facet of the moon. As a result of the moon has moved in relation to the Earth between the time the primary (pink) and final (inexperienced) exposures had been made, a skinny inexperienced offset seems on the appropriate facet of the moon when the three exposures are mixed. This pure lunar motion additionally produces a slight pink and blue offset on the left facet of the moon in these unaltered pictures.

The lunar far facet lacks the big, darkish, basaltic plains, or maria, which can be so outstanding on the Earth-facing facet. The most important far facet options are Mare Moscoviense within the higher left and Tsiolkovskiy crater within the decrease left. A skinny sliver of shadowed space of moon is seen on its proper facet.

“It’s shocking how a lot brighter Earth is than the moon,” stated Adam Szabo, DSCOVR undertaking scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Our planet is a very good object in darkish area in comparison with the lunar floor.”

As soon as EPIC begins common observations subsequent month, NASA will submit each day shade pictures of Earth to a devoted public web site. These pictures, exhibiting completely different views of the planet because it rotates via the day, will likely be out there 12 to 36 hours after they’re acquired.

DSCOVR is a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Air Power with the first goal of sustaining the nation’s real-time photo voltaic wind monitoring capabilities, that are vital to the accuracy and lead time of area climate alerts and forecasts from NOAA.

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