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.
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.
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: