A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has captured a series of stunning images of the Moon passing the Earth’s sunlit side.
The images were captured last month by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel camera and telescope.
The series of images show the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon that is never visible from Earth, according to NASA. Taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. ET on July 16, the images show the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America.
Positioned between the sun and Earth, DSCOVR’s primary mission is real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The satellite is orbiting 1 million miles from Earth.
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“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, in a statement. "Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”
NASA is enjoying a momentous few weeks. Last month the agency’s Kepler mission discovered Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. The Kepler discovery came hot on the heels of the historic flyby of dwarf planet Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.