The public is now privy to NASA’s EPIC dark side of the moon images, taken on July 16th of this year which features our very own brightly shown planet and the unexplored far side of our natural satellite. It depicts an absolutely stunning sight from outer space of our rotating Earth, the bright blue within the all darkness.
The images were snapped by NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), which is situated one million miles away from the surface of our planet as of February, 2015. Its purpose is to detect any coronal mass ejections (CMEs) for technological companies, so they can have a 30 to 45 minutes advance notice of the events that could harshly damage their equipment.
While it cannot stop them, DSCOVR is a preventive measure, meant to offer companies a head’s up and let them know to brace themselves for the worst, as CMEs are severely hazardous for avian, power grids and even orbiting satellites around the planet.
The striking images were used due to DSCOVR’s second function, which is to provide pictures of the Earth and moon in ten different wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared. They were snapped with its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and features our beautifully blue planet with the contrast of the dark grey moon.
Due to the fact that our satellite is tidally locked to the Earth, observers from the ground will always get a look of the same side and leave the other to speculations, movies and a popular Pink Floyd album. NASA’s spacecraft, however, has recently shown us a vivid picture of the mysterious far side.
By positioning itself between the Earth-Moon system and the Sun, DSCOVR managed to capture the breathtaking image that NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist Adam Szabo has observed upon. The dark side of the moon is starkly different from its more known counterpart. However, it’s also not made of cheese.
Instead, the rocky regolith material reflects very little of the sunlight compared to the bright waters dominating our planet, which makes for quite a stark contrast between the two. It has also uncovered that the dark side of the moon does not feature lunar maria, the basaltic plains caused by ancient volcanic eruptions that can be viewed from Earth.
EPIC is still in testing, but it will soon start on snapping more images in order to monitor aerosol levels, ozone, clouds, vegetations and many others while moving along on the DSCOVR. More science data will be gathered, with hopefully more answers and exceptional images.
Image source: somtribune.com