NASA cameras captured the ‘dark side’ of the moon as it orbited the earth last month, revealing the fully illuminated far side for the first time.
NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has captured a unique view of the Moon from a million miles away, as its orbit crossed the orbital plane of the moon. NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) aboard the DSCOVR satellite orbiting between the Sun and Earth has the primary mission of real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Twice a year EPIC will capture the Moon and Earth as their orbits inevitably line up and will reveal more on the mysterious ‘dark side’ of the Moon. The animation shows the Moon passing over the Pacific on July 16 and reveals the tidally locked moon from the ‘dark side’ for all to see.
EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. 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.
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.