A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) was quietly doing what it always does — capturing the Earth as it rotates along its axis during its orbit around the sun — when the moon swooped in and photobombed DSCOVR’s snaps for the second time in a year.
“For the second time in the life of DSCOVR, the moon moved between the spacecraft and Earth,” said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The project recorded this event on July 5 with the same cadence and spatial resolution as the first ‘lunar photobomb’ of last year.”
The images were taken between July 4 and July 5, over the span of about four hours. You can see the Indian and Pacific oceans depicted.
The satellite, floating millions of miles away, is consistently taking images of the Earth to study the atmospheric and weather changes of the planet. DSCOVR has a little four-megapixel instrument called the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, that takes more than a dozen color images of the planet every 12 to 36 hours that illustrate different trends in ozone, vegetation, cloud height, and aerosols.
The public actually has access to those images on the DSCOVR:EPIC website. EPIC takes its images over 10 different kinds of narrowband filters, from ultraviolet to infrared. Those single-color photos are combined to create the full-color pictures you see on the website.
As mentioned, this is really the second time the moon has photobombed EPIC’s epic pictures. The last time was July 16, 2015.