It’s not often you get to see the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon – but, thanks to a NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, we received a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. SO cool!
The animation below features actual satellite images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth – one million miles away.
EPIC’s job is to constantly monitor the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates. It provides observations of vegetation, cloud height, ozone, and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, NASA will post daily color images of Earth to a dedicated public website. 🌍
These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.
Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced Wednesday by NASA’s New Horizons team, just one day after the spacecraft’s first ever Pluto flyby. Here is a collection of incredible photos that highlight just a few of NASA’s recent findings. Feel free to geek out – such an exciting time! 🚀
“Pluto New Horizons is a true mission of exploration showing us why basic scientific research is so important,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The mission has had nine years to build expectations about what we would see during closest approach to Pluto and Charon. Today, we get the first sampling of the scientific treasure collected during those critical moments, and I can tell you it dramatically surpasses those high expectations.”
New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise — a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body. Credits: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI
Pluto’s tiny potato-shaped moon Hydra emerges from the shadows, revealing its irregularly shaped body characterized by significant brightness variations over the surface. Credit: NASA
Remarkable new details of Pluto’s largest moon Charon are revealed in this image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken late on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles. Credit: NASA
The latest spectra from New Horizons Ralph instrument reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences from place to place across the frozen surface of Pluto. Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI
A portrait from the final approach. Pluto and Charon display striking color and brightness contrast in this composite image from July 11. Credits: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
This graphic presents a view of Pluto and Charon as they would appear if placed slightly above Earth’s surface and viewed from a great distance. Recent measurements obtained by New Horizons indicate that Pluto has a diameter of 2370 km, 18.5% that of Earth’s, while Charon has a diameter of 1208 km, 9.5% that of Earth’s. Credit: NASA
New Horizons Flight Controllers celebrate after they received confirmation from the spacecraft that it had successfully completed the flyby of Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in the Mission Operations Center (MOC) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Maryland. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Even President Obama got in on the Pluto action! Twitter: @POTUS
New Horizons has obtained impressive new images of Pluto and its large moon Charon that highlight their compositional diversity. These are not actual color images of Pluto and Charon—they are shown here in exaggerated colors. Image Credit: NASA/APL/SwRI
New Horizons spacecraft. Image/File credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/David Napolillo
The full “blood moon” lunar eclipse only lasted five minutes! But, people all over the world still managed to capture the epic moment on film. Check out these beautiful photos of the ‘shortest lunar eclipse of the century,’ courtesy of TIME, Yahoo, and Flickr.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – APRIL 04: Sky-watchers got a glimpse of the Blood Moon in the shortest eclipse of the century as it sets behind Pikes Peak April 4, 2015 in Colorado Springs. The top edge of the eclipsed moon should appear much brighter than the rest of the orb.(Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Lunar eclipse in Las Vegas with stratosphere. Flickr: tslclick
A partially eclipsed full moon sets behind a statue of a Kansa Indian at the Kansas Statehouse, Saturday, April 4, 2015 in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A lunar eclipse is seen from Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/DAVID CROSLING AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
A lunar eclipse is observed above a lion-shaped statue in Urasoe city, Okinawa prefecture, southern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
A total lunar eclipse is observed above cherry blossoms in Shiraishi city, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
A lunar eclipse is seen beside a clock tower at Marina Beach in Chennai, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)
Indians watch a lunar eclipse from the banks of River Kuakhai on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
The beginning of a total lunar eclipse is seen behind leaves illuminated by a street light in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 04: A blood red moon lights up the sky during a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The shortest total lunar eclipse, or “blood moon”, of the century will last just a few minutes. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)