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Space and Physics

Incredible Photographs Show The "Dark Side" Of The Moon From More Than A Million Miles Away

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Morenike Adebayo

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clockAug 6 2015, 21:42 UTC
1601 Incredible Photographs Show The "Dark Side" Of The Moon From More Than A Million Miles Away
Get behind me, Earth! NASA.

Never visible from Earth, the "dark side" of the Moon is less mysterious in this GIF below.

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Captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) in July, the furthest side of the Moon is in full view as it crosses in front of the Earth.

Released by NASA this week, the looping GIF is highly entrancing as the Moon drifts between EPIC and Earth, crossing over the Pacific Ocean near North America.

 

 

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The Moon is tidally locked to our planet, meaning the same face of the Moon is always positioned towards Earth and hence we never see the far, or "dark," side. 

Beginning regular observations this September, EPIC, a four-megapixel camera and telescope, is mounted onto the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, orbiting 1.5 million kilometers (1 million miles) away from Earth.

In a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, this distant location between the Earth and the Sun allows the satellite to optimally monitor real-time solar wind changes for accurate space weather alerts and forecasts.

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The first-ever mission to view and capture images of the Moon’s far side was in 1959, when the space probe Soviet Luna 3 was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

Even more mysteriously, the fate of this space probe is unknown. After taking 29 images of the Moon, which covered 70% of its far side, the space probe possibly burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere in 1960, but it may also have survived in orbit until 1962 or even later.

[H/T: NASA]


Space and Physics
  • nasa,

  • moon,

  • earth,

  • EPIC,

  • DSCOVR

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