Behold the Most Distant Crescent Moon

At first glance this pixelated picture may not look all that spectacular, but it gains a whole new meaning when you realize what it’s actually showing: a look at the most distant crescent moon ever seen! But this isn’t Earth’s moon; it’s Charon, Pluto’s largest companion, lit by the light from a Sun 3.2 billion miles away—some…

Out of the Blue

Japan’s Akatsuki (PLANET-C) spacecraft, launched on May 20, captured this image of home as it sped away on its six-month journey to Venus. Using its ultraviolet camera Akatsuki (“Dawn” in Japanese) saw the crescent Earth as a bright electric blue from a distance of over 155,000 miles away, on May 21, 2010. Akatsuki (as well…

Good Morning Antarctica

Last night the Rosetta spacecraft took this stunning image of Earth, showing the rosy crescent of the southern pole lit by the summer sun. (It’s nearing the height of summer in Antarctica, when the sun never fully sets for several months.) Click for a larger view. Absolutely beautiful. I rotated the image so that south…