The image was taken when the spacecraft was traveling 134 miles above the lunar crater Compton and at a speed of more than 3,580 miles per hour.
NASA has captured a stunning, detailed view of Earthrise which was taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) while it was orbiting speedily around the moon.
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The new image reminds us of the famous photograph ‘Blue Marble’ snapped by astronaut Harrison Schmitt 43 years ago from the Apollo 17 spacecraft which was perhaps the most iconic and widely distributed image of Earth.
The latest image was not taken at once. It was developed by combining a series of high-resolution black and white and colored photographs together and it shows Earth rising from the moon’s horizon. In the image, the coast of Liberia is at the center of Earth. The large tan area in the upper right is Sahara desert while Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are visible at the left side. We also get a glimpse of the Moon’s crater Compton too in the image, which is located in the northern hemisphere on the far side of the moon.
"From the Earth, the daily moonrise and moonset are always inspiring moments. However, lunar astronauts will see something very different: viewed from the lunar surface, the Earth never rises or sets.” said Mark Robinson, principal investigator for LROC.
“Since the moon is tidally locked, Earth is always in the same spot above the horizon, varying only a small amount with the slight wobble of the moon. The Earth may not move across the 'sky', but the view is not static.”
The image was taken on October 12 when LRO was traveling 134 kilometers above the moon’s crater Compton at a speed of more than 3,580 miles per hour. But according to NASA Earthrise is always quite difficult to capture.
“First the spacecraft must be rolled to the side (in this case 67°), then the spacecraft slews with the direction of travel to maximize the width of the lunar horizon in the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) image.” LROC blog says. All this takes place when the spacecraft is orbiting at a very fast speed.
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The high-resolution Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on LRO takes black-and-white images, while the other lower resolution Wide Angle Camera (WAC) takes color images. The combination of both helped create a spectacular image that brought out details on Earth remarkably well.