‘The moon passed between NASA climate observatory and the Earth,’ Tweeted former astronaut Rick Mastracchio this week.
‘Almost unbelievable that this is a real photo.’’
The image was captured by a NASA camera on board the Deep Space Climate Observatory on July 16, 2015 over the space of five hours.
A series of test images shows the fully illuminated ‘dark side’ of the Moon that is not visible from Earth.
The images were acquired by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel camera and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite, which orbits about 1 million miles from Earth.
The EPIC camera provides daily scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height, and airborne aerosols.
About twice a year the camera will capture images of the Moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the Moon.
In the image, the North Pole is toward the upper left, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.