The Dark Side of the Moon…from a Million Miles Away
We’ve become accustomed to seeing the face of the moon in its tidal locked rotation around the Earth. In fact, the dark side of the moon has become a mystery and a thing for fictional devices. It’s not that the dark side of the moon has never been photographed or explored, but it sure looks great when see from a million miles away, crossing in front of Earth.
The Moon has served as a source of inspiration for theater, music, movies, plays, poems, you-name-it. We can date written records of moon tales as far back as the 10th century. Of course, proof of human fascination to our closest celestial neighbor can even be seen in cave drawings and the earliest etchings of man. It’s still a modern source of intrigue and is referenced in such classic works as Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” to even modern movies–there are four movies already out in 2015 that deal with the moon in some way: The Moon and the Sun, Cold Moon, Dark Moon Rising, and Closer to the Moon. However, all the images used in the publicity for these works have dealt with the side of the moon we’re most familiar with.
NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has taken many amazing images from its position between the Earth and Sun. But twice a year, it is in the perfect position to view the moon as it passes in front of the Earth. On July 16th, this image was captured as the Moon moved across the Pacific Ocean.
DSCOVR was launched back in February on a mission to use its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) to monitor the solar wind in real time. The EPIC camera takes a quick succession of 10 photos in a row, with filters ranging from ultraviolet to near infrared. The pictures you see above were created by combining the red, blue, and green images into one.
“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon,” said Adam Szabo, a DSCOVR project scientist. “Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”