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Moon photobombs Earth

In early July, a satellite camera caught the moon crossing the face of Earth.

On July 5, 2016, a camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) – a satellite orbiting 1 million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth – captured a view of the sunlit face of the moon moving in front of the sunlit face of Earth, over the Indian and Pacific oceans. North Pole is at the top. The far side of the moon, which is never seen from Earth, passes by.

DSCOVR captured the images used to make this animation over a period of about four hours, between July 4 at 11:50 p.m. EDT and July 5 at 3:18 a.m. EDT (0350 UTC and 0718 UTC on July 5).

In the backdrop, Earth rotates, starting with the Australia and Pacific and gradually revealing Asia and Africa.

Adam Szabo is DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He said in a statement:

For the second time in the life of DSCOVR, the moon moved between the spacecraft and Earth. The project recorded this event on July 5 with the same cadence and spatial resolution as the first ‘lunar photobomb’ of last year.

The previous time the satellite captured this event was on July 16, 2015.

The moon might look a little odd to you in the video above. NASA explained why:

Combining three images taken about 30 seconds apart as the moon moves produces a slight but noticeable camera artifact on the right side of the moon. Because the moon has moved in relation to Earth between the time the first (red) and last (green) exposures were made, a thin green offset appears on the right side of the moon when the three exposures are combined. This natural lunar movement also produces a slight red and blue offset on the left side of the moon in these unaltered images.

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Bottom line: A camera aboard the DSCOVR satellite captured a view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth on July 4-5, 2016.

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Eleanor Imster

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