The latest picture of the Earth and her moon from NASA is truly a happy accident. While the blue planet poses perfectly for her latest photo, her satellite pops into the frame for what is likely the world’s most dramatic photobomb.
Lucky for us, NASA has released not just the now-famous photobomb, but turned the snapshots into an amazing GIF. In it, the bright blue orb is spinning along as the dark side of the moon casually passes by on its way over the Pacific Ocean, NBC News reported.
For Adam Szabo, project scientist at NASA, the picture was a shock.
“It is surprising how much brighter Earth is than the moon. Our planet is a truly brilliant object in dark space compared to the lunar surface.”
The photobomb was captured by a satellite called DSCOVR, which is short for Deep Space Climate Observatory. DSCOVR’s mission is to study the sun and solar winds, United Press International added.
It will capture data on solar winds in real time, which will help NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast weather in space. It’s not fully operational just yet. After its launch in February, it arrived at its sweet spot a few weeks ago and is just getting comfortable before it starts collecting data, the Washington Post added.
DSCOVR is actually one million miles from our planet, while the moon is about 250,000 miles away.
This striking snapshot is incredible for another reason, though, beyond the amazing detail it captured of Earth’s own weather patterns: the picture reveals the dark side of its celestial body. And its far side is one we Earthlings never get to see.
Because its spot in space is “tidally locked” and in synchronous orbit with our planet, we see only one side every night. Even scientists don’t glimpse its backside too often, Popular Science added.
In the photobomb and its accompanying GIF, therefore, the DSCOVR has the sun at its back, its rays shining brightly onto Earth to light it up. The moon, in contrast, looks dark and somber. The satellite took several images of the pair about 30 seconds apart, and they were combined to create the single photo.
Its incredibly powerful telescope and high-resolution camera have already snapped some impressive pics — this photo was snapped in mid-July — and will continue to do so. Next month, the agency will post the satellite’s pics online every day. Snapshots of the Earth and moon — and perhaps another photobomb — will be taken about twice a year.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]