Watch: NASA Video Reveals the Dark Side of the Moon as It Transits the Earth

Thursday, 06 August 2015 - 9:51AM
Space
Astronomy
Moon
Thursday, 06 August 2015 - 9:51AM
Watch: NASA Video Reveals the Dark Side of the Moon as It Transits the Earth

The dark side of the moon can never be seen from Earth, but Earthlings will get a chance to see it in all of its glory, as NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) has captured images of the away-facing side of our satellite, transformed into this stunning video:



The EPIC camera maintains a constant view of the Earth, capturing daily variations as it rotates and providing scientists with insights about aspects of the atmosphere such as ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols. EPIC, which is approximately a million miles away from Earth, took these photographs of the dark side of the moon on July 16, between 3:50 pm and 8:45 pm EDT, which showed the moon passing over the Pacific Ocean.

Watch: NASA Video Captures Dark Side of the Moon as It Transits the Earth

The near and far sides of the Moon actually receive approximately the same amount of sunlight, where the "dark side" idiom merely refers to its mysteriousness, as a result of our inability to observe it. The moon appears darker and duller than Earth in the images, partially because the far side doesn't receive as much earthshine as the near side, but also because the Earth is generally just brighter than the moon.

Opening quote
"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. "Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface."
Closing quote


But although the dark side of the moon is not actually much darker than the near side, there are significant differences in the topography that became clear when these images were taken:

Opening quote
"The lunar far side lacks the large, dark, basaltic plains, or maria, that are so prominent on the Earth-facing side. The largest far side features are Mare Moscoviense in the upper left and Tsiolkovskiy crater in the lower left. A thin sliver of shadowed area of moon is visible on its right side," NASA said in a statement.
Closing quote

Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
Moon
NASA Video Reveals the Dark Side of the Moon as It Transits the Earth

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