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The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)

The first pictures of the lunar far side, were taken by the Soviet probe Luna 3 on October 7, 1959. In 2015, NASA took a series of pictures that were much more fun, showing the far side of the moon crossing over the full Earth:

A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. The series of test images shows the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon that is never visible from Earth.

The images were captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. From its position between the sun and Earth, DSCOVR conducts its primary mission of real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image. It is in the original orientation as taken by the spacecraft.

(Via NASA.)

Who could even visualize such a picture? As it turns out, science fiction illustrator Frank R. Paul drew this illustration for "The Voyage of the Asteroid", a story by Laurence Manning, published in Wonder Stories Quarterly in 1932.


(The hidden side of earth's satellite)

Paul's picture shows a slightly different orientation, one in which the earth and the moon are not pictured at "full", but rather "gibbous", which I think makes for a more three-dimensional representation.

Update 15-Dec-2022:


(First photograph of lunar farside taken in 1959)

This photograph was taken by the Soviet spacecraft Luna 3, which was launched a month after the Luna 2 spacecraft became the first man-made object to impact on the surface of the Moon,” explains astronomer Kevin Hainline in a recent Twitter thread. “Luna 2 followed Luna 1, the first spacecraft to escape a geosynchronous Earth orbit.” Luna 3 was designed to take photographs of the Moon.

End update.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/19/2022)

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