This Article is From Aug 06, 2015

NASA Camera Reveals 'Dark Side' of the Moon

NASA Camera Reveals 'Dark Side' of the Moon

Far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth (NASA/NOAA)

Here's one for ardent Pink Floyd fans.

A NASA camera aboard its Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has captured the "Dark side of the moon," fully illuminated.

The stunning images were captured from nearly 1.6 lakh km away, as the moon moved in front of the sun-lit side of the Earth last month.

"The series of test images shows the fully illuminated "dark side" of the moon that is never visible from Earth," NASA said.

From Earth we always see the same side of the moon because it is tidally locked to our planet, which means that its orbital period is the same as its rotation around its axis.

The images, says NASA, were taken on July 16, between 3.50 pm and 8.45 pm (Eastern Daylight Time) - that is 1.20 pm and 6.15 pm IST.

The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) is placed aboard a satellite that is orbiting 1 million miles (about 1.6 lakh km) away from Earth. NASA said it maintains a "constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere."

The camera will twice a year capture the moon and Earth together as the satellite's orbit crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

The far side of the moon was first captured in 1959 when the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft returned the first images. Since then, says NASA, its missions have captured it in far greater detail.

"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 on its website.

For those who not Pink Floyd fans, the Dark Side of the Moon is a 1973 album by the progressive rock group.