It’s over halfway through 2015 and perhaps it’s high time for an all-new, updated, knock-your-socks-off “blue marble” photo of our beautiful planet Earth. And so earlier this week NASA delivered just that, courtesy of the high-definition EPIC camera (yes, that’s a real acronym) aboard the DSCOVR spacecraft positioned nearly a million miles away toward the Sun. The image above was captured on July 6, 2015, using the camera’s visible-light channels… it’s how Earth would appear to our eyes were we there (with the help of a telephoto lens, that is.)
And it really is a “blue marble” image, of the kind previously only captured by departing (or approaching) planetary exploration spacecraft or from inside Moon-bound Apollo capsules (see below)… you simply can’t get a shot like this from low-Earth orbit!
“This is the first true blue marble photo since 1972.”
– John Grunsfeld, NASA, July 24, 2015
Unlike other recent Earth images, like the ones made from Suomi NPP satellite data, the EPIC image is a full-globe picture. It’s taken from far enough away that the entire planet fits in the frame(s), and since DSCOVR remains between Earth and the Sun (at L1, for those interested) Earth will always be fully-lit in EPIC images – which, beginning in September, will be captured on a daily basis.
Imagine… blue marbles, served fresh daily! That’s what DSCOVR will soon provide (along with valuable early-warning data on approaching CMEs and solar storms.)
Read more about this image and the DSCOVR mission on my Universe Today article here.
Image credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC
UPDATE 7/29/15: Here’s another view from DSCOVR on July 6, showing Europe, Africa, and the Middle East: