The Newest ‘Earthrise’ Image, Courtesy of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter | Universe Today

The Newest ‘Earthrise’ Image, Courtesy of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

That’s Earth. That’s us. Way off in the distance as a fairly small, blue and swirly white sphere. This is the newest so-called “Earthrise” image, and it was taken on February 1, 2014 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

“LRO experiences twelve earthrises every day, however LROC is almost always busy imaging the lunar surface so only rarely does an opportunity arise such that LROC can capture a view of the Earth,” wrote LROC Principal Investigator Mark Robinson on the instrument’s website. “On the first of February of this year LRO pitched forward while approaching the north pole allowing the LROC WAC to capture the Earth rising above Rozhdestvenskiy crater (180-km diameter).”

Robinson went on to explain that the Earth is a color composite from several frames and the colors are very close to what the average person would see if they were looking back at Earth themselves from lunar orbit. “Also, in this image the relative brightness between the Earth and the Moon is correct, note how much brighter the Earth is relative to the Moon,” Robinson said.

Gorgeous.

Below is a gif image that demonstrates how images are combined over several orbits to create a full image from the Wide Angle Camera.

A gif image showing the “venetian blind” banding demonstrates how a WAC image is built up frame-by-frame. The gaps between the frames are due to the real separation of the WAC filters on the CCD. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

The frames were acquired at two second intervals, so the total time to collect the sequence was 5 minutes. The video is faster than reality by a factor of about 20.

Nancy Atkinson @https://twitter.com/nancy_a

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

View Comments

  • "small, blue and swirly white sphere"
    And yet if you were standing on the moon (or on the LRO) and saw this "earth rise", the earth would look HUGE, over 3.5 times as large as the full moon looks to us when we watch it rise here on earth (moon diameter = 3,474 km; earth diameter = 12,742 km). Imagine THAT awesome and majestic view, instead of this "tiny" view, which has been shrunk down in able to capture more of the moon in the frame.

Recent Posts

Betelgeuse Is Still Dimming! And We Have the Pictures to Prove It

Near the end of 2019, astronomers watching the red giant Betelgeuse noted how much the star had dimmed, continuing to…

1 hour ago

Beautiful Exposed Bedrock and Sand Dunes on Mars

Impact craters can be quite complex. Depending on the size of the impactor, and on the size of the planet…

3 days ago

Astronomers Simulated How the Universe Would Look Without Dark Matter

A team of European researchers recently simulated how a Universe without Dark Matter would have evolved, with surprising results!

3 days ago

Mars Was Hit By a Lot of Protoplanets Early in its History, Taking Longer to Form than Previously Thought.

There are around 61,000 meteorites on Earth, or at least that's how many have been found. Out of those, about…

3 days ago

The Pale Blue Dot: Now New and Improved

Thirty years have now passed since the Voyager 1 spacecraft snapped one of the most iconic and memorable pictures in…

3 days ago

Catch Comet T2 PanSTARRS This Spring

Ready for the next great comet? First, the bad news. there is not (as of yet), a good naked eye…

3 days ago