Parker Solar Probe Earth photo

Parker Solar Probe Snaps A Hot Pic Of Earth On Its Way To ‘Touch’ The Sun

Alexandra Lozovschi - Author
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Oct. 25 2018, Updated 3:51 a.m. ET

The Parker Solar Probe — humanity’s first mission to visit a star — is zooming through space on its way to meet the sun. But while the intrepid spacecraft has a blazing future ahead (pun intended), it still has time to look back at home.

Last month, the Parker Solar Probe turned its sights back toward Earth and snapped a lovely portrait of our planet from about 27 million miles away. Unveiled yesterday by NASA, the snapshot shows Earth as a luminous sphere shining among a multitude of bright specks of light.

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The image was taken on September 25 by the probe’s WISPR instrument, the only camera on board the spacecraft, and offers a two-panel view of our cosmic neighborhood. This is because WISPR (short for Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe) is equipped with two telescopes — “which point in slightly different directions and have different fields of view,” NASA explained in the photo release.

According to the space agency, the left-hand image was captured by the instrument’s inner telescope, whereas the right-hand image — which showcases the glorious view of Earth — was produced by WISPR’s outer telescope.

Surprise Shot Of The Moon

Hidden in plain sight, the moon was also caught on camera by the Parker Solar Probe. However, in order to make it visible, NASA had to zoom in on the photo of Earth.

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