When I was a small child growing up in South Carolina, one of my favorite pastimes was to sit outside at night and watch the stars. We lived on a quiet street in Aiken with one dim street light that barely lit the road.
The Milky Way was my playground. I was already a fan of science fiction, and staring at the night sky only fueled my imagination. Reruns of Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon were on television when I came home from school, and at night, I would ride in those rocket ships across the sky. The nights the moon was prominent in the sky were my favorites. I dreamed of traveling to the moon and meet the aliens living there.
Today, I would still love to set foot on the moon. Alas, no aliens but they’re out there somewhere… I believe.
The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft brought that little girl staring at the night sky back again, and this time I traveled to the far side of the moon.
Explanation: The Moon was new on July 16. Its familiar nearside facing the surface of planet Earth was in shadow. But on that date a million miles away, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) captured this view of an apparently Full Moon crossing in front of a Full Earth. In fact, seen from the spacecraft’s position beyond the Moon’s orbit and between Earth and Sun, the fully illuminated lunar hemisphere is the less familiar farside. Only known since the dawn of the space age, the farside is mostly devoid of dark lunar maria that sprawl across the Moon’s perpetual Earth-facing hemisphere. Only the small dark spot of the farside’s Mare Moscoviense (Sea of Moscow) is clear, at the upper left. Planet Earth’s north pole is near 11 o’clock, with the North America visited by Hurricane Dolores near center. Slight color shifts are visible around the lunar edge, an artifact of the Moon’s motion through the field caused by combining the camera’s separate exposures taken in quick succession through different color filters. While monitoring the Earth and solar wind for space weather forcasts, about twice a year DSCOVR can capture similar images of Moon and Earth together as its crosses the orbital plane of the Moon.