Tag Archives: Earth from lunar orbit

Magnificent New View of Earth from Lunar Orbit

December 2015 Unique view of Earth from the LRO in orbit around the moon
December 2015 Unique view of Earth from the LRO in orbit around the moon

I couldn’t resist.

I didn’t intend to make a science post until I had the site looking good, but this was just too good to wait. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured this unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon. We see the “limb” of the moon (as the visible edge of an astronomical body is called) underneath our planet as it hangs in space showing Africa, the continent where our species evolved, through the clouds.

Earthrise blue marble picture

“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”

This new picture shows a fuller earth and brighter, richer colors. (I almost said closer, but it isn’t. It just looks closer. Both pictures were taken from lunar orbit, so the distance is approximately the same.) Regardless, it’s wonderful!

Click the link below to get your full-size original to use for wallpaper on your monitor or whatever else you might want it for.

An interesting tidbit is that there is actually no such thing as earthrise on the moon. It’s an illusion. Since the moon rotates once on its axis every time it orbits earth, the same side of the moon always faces our planet. It wobbles a few degrees, but not enough to notice. That’s why we always see the same “man in the moon.” Or the same “rabbit in the moon,” if your imagination runs that way.

From the position near the moon’s surface where the original picture was shot, earth always seems to hang in the sky like that. And the new picture was shot from a similar position. From behind the moon, earth would never be visible.

Lots of Variety Here

My posts will vary from time to time. Before the end of the year, I’ll probably put up links to a series of new evolution videos. Other times, I’ll write articles ranging from very short to 700 or 1,000 words. Still other times, I’ll post a link to something somebody else already said better than I can. I’m not proud.

Whatever it takes to make science both simple and interesting, that’s what I intend to do. I won’t try to post something every day, though. Once or twice a week will be more usual. And I’ll nearly always include one or more links to source materials.

So don’t change that dial. Stay tuned for lots of great simple science stuff. And be sure to sign up for email notifications.

By the way, we’ll have this site looking like it ought to look really soon. I promise. You’ll be proud for anybody to see it on your screen.