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Earth like you have never seen before

December 23, 2015 09:36 IST
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Nasa has released a stunning composite image in which Earth appears to rise over the moon.

 Please click on the image to view Hi-resolution image.

It is composed of a series of shots taken October 12 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, as it passed about 83 miles above the lunar crater Compton on the far side of the moon, NASA said.

"The image is simply stunning," said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, in a statement.

"The image of the Earth evokes the famous 'Blue Marble' image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture."

Packed with seven instruments, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sees a dozen 'Earthrises' every day, with this image taken back in October. It is actually a composite, as are plenty of space images, with Mark Robinson, who works with the LRO’s camera, noting this image is relatively fictitious, yet wonderful.

"From the Earth, the daily moonrise and moonset are always inspiring moments," he said.

"However, lunar astronauts will see something very different: viewed from the lunar surface, the Earth never rises or sets. 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. Future astronauts will see the continents rotate in and out of view and the ever-changing pattern of clouds will always catch one’s eye, at least on the near side. The Earth is never visible from the far side; imagine a sky with no Earth or moon -- what will far side explorers think with no Earth overhead?"

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