This image shows the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth - one million miles away.
NASA has released spectacular footage of the "dark side" of the moon - fully illuminated - as the Earth's natural satellite was moving across the sunlit side of our planet. The unique shots were captured by the Deep Space Climate Observatory. Taken by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), the images show a unique view of our planet and the moon from one million miles away.
"It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon," said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface."
The series of images taken on July 16 were compiled into GIF animation that depicts the moon flying over the North America and the Pacific Ocean. The images taken from the satellite's point of view also clearly show the tilt of the Earth, with the North Pole located in the upper left corner.
A number of people who've seen NASA's annual lunar phase and libration videos have asked what the other side of the Moon looks like, the side that can't be seen from the Earth. This video answers that question. The imagery was created using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter data.
DSCOVR that was launched in February this year is also designed to gather a range of measurements from ozone and aerosol amounts to changes in Earth's radiation. But one of the satellite's strongest weapons is the EPIC which takes full-color snaps in sets of 10 images using different narrowband filters - from ultraviolet to near infrared. "Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon," NASA says.
First images of the "dark side" of the moon, never seen from Earth, were taken by USSR's Luna 3 spacecraft in 1959. Over the decades of scientific research based on images produced by NASA's programs, scientists were able to determine that the far side lacks the large, dark, basaltic plains that are present on the side facing the Earth.