It’s been a year since NASA unveiled the first image of Earth’s sunlit side captured by the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, and to celebrate the occasion, you can see an entire year’s worth of DSCOVR’s view in less than three minutes.
The scientists behind DSCOVR’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, or EPIC, assembled more than 3,000 images to create this week’s video clip.
“The colors shown are our best estimate of what a human sitting at the location of EPIC would see,” EPIC lead scientist Jay Herman says during the video.
DSCOVR keeps watch on our planet from a gravitationally stable vantage point known as Earth-Sun L1, about a million miles above the planet. The DSCOVR mission started out in 1998 as the brainchild of then-Vice President Al Gore, who loved the idea of having a satellite that could provide a continuous full-disk view of our home planet.
The perspective from DSCOVR’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (a.k.a. EPIC), captured on July 16, provides a topsy-turvy view: Here we’re seeing the moon’s far side, which earthbound skywatchers can never observe. And although it looks like a full moon, on Earth the moon was in its totally dark, “new” phase.
Launched in February, DSCOVR is a joint mission of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with the twin objectives of making climate observations and keeping watch for incoming solar storms.
The Earth-watching part of the mission follows through on an idea put forward by Vice President Al Gore back in the 1990s – and the former veep was obviously tickled to see the latest pictures released from NASA’s lockbox: