NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, also known by its acronym EPIC, provides fresh, fascinating images of the Earth.
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EPIC is affixed to NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) which is about one million miles away from the Earth. This makes it a perfect candidate to take close up images of Earth’s entire sunlit face once every two hours and yield new details about our planet’s changing behavior.
EPIC’s new images provide insight into Earth’s clouds, land surfaces, aerosols, dust particles in the air and much more.
“With EPIC, you see cloud structure from sunrise from left to sunset on the right,” said Jay Herman, EPIC instrument lead investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “It’s the only view we have like this with everything is at exact same instant in time, even though the local times are different.
EPIC captures a complete view of the Earth’s face at once and at ultraviolet and near-infrared wavelengths and also shows what’s happening on the Earth in real time such as how dust from the Sahara flows across the Atlantic.
Not only are all the EPIC measurements visible, but it also helps determine the exact location and height of daytime clouds by comparing two different images taken at different wavelengths. This is important in calculating Earth’s energy budget for climate studies as well as for forecasting weather.
Researchers will use EPIC observations to better understand vegetation, ozone layer and other features of Earth and its atmosphere.
DSCOVR was launched on February 11, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After a four-month long journey, it reached its orbit around the Sun. The place is known as first language point and it is where the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Earth balances out and allows spacecraft to stay relatively stable.
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