The camera aboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captures a photo of the moon photobombing Earth. The picture was shot between July 4 at 11:50 PM EDT and July 5 at 3:18 AM EDT (or on July 5 at 0350 UTC and 0718 UTC) as the moon moved in front of the sunlit side of the Earth.
“For the second time in the life of DSCOVR, the moon moved between the spacecraft and Earth,” points out Adam Szabo, a DSCOVR project scientist working at the space agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The project recorded this event on July 5 with the same cadence and spatial resolution as the first ‘lunar photobomb’ of last year.”
The images were taken by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) while DSCOVR was monitoring solar winds 1 million miles (1.6 million km) above the Earth. The last time EPIC saw the moon photobombing Earth was on July 16, 2015 between 3:50 PM. and 8:45 PM EDT. This time, the four-megapixel camera shows the moon moving over the Indian and Pacific oceans.
EPIC takes a series of images of Earth as it rotates to gather important data about the ozone, cloud height, aerosols and vegetation in the atmosphere, giving us a constant view of our planet. The findings gathered by the camera are crucial to studying the variations that occur each day over the planet.
The colors of Earth generated by EPIC are achieved by combining three monochrome exposures taken in rapid succession. Overall, the camera takes a series of 10 pictures to hand out several data.
The Deep Space Climate Observatory is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the space agency and the US Air Force. Its mission is to monitor solar winds and provide information about these, which NOAA uses to create forecasts or space weather alerts.