Astonishing View of Moon Transiting Earth

NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured an astonishing series of images of the Moon transiting Earth. In the above animation made from the still images, we see the far side of the Moon, illuminated by the Sun, as the Moon passes across the face of the rotating Earth from a distance of about one million miles.

Images for the animation were taken 30 seconds apart between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16 using the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on DSCOVR. The images were captured in monochrome and combined into a natural color composite. The colors and tones are accurate and show a striking comparison between the bright, colorful Earth and the much darker, lifeless, monochrome Moon.

The Moon may look a little different here than it appears when you see it from Earth. That’s because we’re seeing the “far side” of the Moon, the side that is mostly cratered but relatively devoid of smooth, dark maria, or seas, which are so prominent on the Earth-facing side of the Moon. The largest far side features are Mare Moscoviense in the upper left and Tsiolkovskiy crater in the lower left. These features were first observed and photographed by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959. Before that, no one had ever observed the far side of the Moon.

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