Earth rise

 

 

 

 

 

 

We call a fully lit view of one hemisphere of the moon a ‘full moon’. Turnabout is fair play, so the men on the moon probably call a fully lit view of one hemisphere of the Earth a ‘full Earth’. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? Okay, let’s call it an Earthrise then. I’ve also heard it called a big blue marble, and it certainly fits the description.

Japan’s lunar orbiter Kaguya took the image above with its high-definition video camera as the Earth rose above the horizon of the moon on April 5. The high-def camera was supplied to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

Timing is everything and so the sun, Earth, moon and Kaguya have to be in proper alignment in order to obtain a photo-op like this. These photo opportunities only occur roughly twice per year. Kaguya took the picture at a distance of 380,000 km or 236,000 miles from Earth.

Kaguya weighs in at three tons and is named after a moon princess in a Japanese folk tale. It was launched in September 2007 on a twelve-month mission is explore the lunar surface. JAXA has indicated that the mission may be extended for a period of time. There are 14 science instruments aboard and will orbit the moon at a distance of 100 km (62 mi) from the lunar surface.

Here’s a link to a short video of the Earthrise but be forewarned, it is preceded by a short commercial.

http://www.space.com/php/video/player.php?video_id=080414-Kaguya

Photo: JAXA/NHK

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