Japan’s KAGUYA satellite took this photo of Earth from its orbit around the Moon during a penumbral eclipse – the positioning of the Earth between the Sun and Moon – on February 10, 2009 with its high-definition camera. This is the first time such an event has been photographed from the Moon.
During a penumbral eclipse, the Earth’s shadow passes over the Moon. From our point of view, the Moon appears to be slowly covered by a deep red shadow. This is from the coloration of the sun’s light passing through the layers of Earth’s atmosphere…in effect, casting a sunset-glow over the Moon’s surface. From the Moon’s perspective, as seen by KAGUYA, the Earth would blot out the Sun, until nothing is left but a shining ring of light.
The KAGUYA (Selene) mission was launched by Japan in September 2007 and consists of a main orbiter and two deployable satellites that are currently orbiting the Moon, measuring magnetic and gravitational fields and mapping the lunar surface.
UPDATE: View the video of the eclipse event here.