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Yes, This Is a Real, Gorgeous Image of the Earth Over the Moon’s Horizon

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.13.39 AM

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been observing the Moon close-up for over five years, but all science aside, this picture is one heck of an achievement on its own. Looking just about as fake and alien as any other picture taken on the giant space rock that flies around our heads and stabilizes our planet, this is the Earth over the Moon’s horizon.

However, it’s not the Earth rising or setting over the horizon. It’s just the Earth sitting there, because that’s what it does over any given location on the Moon—except for where it’s not visible at all, ever. If you’ll remember, the same side of the Moon faces the Earth at all times. While the Moon appears at different locations in our sky, we stay at the same spot in its sky, where it gets a full view of us spinning through space.

Here’s the full image with side-by-side comparisons showing how it was brightened and then colored after it was taken:


(via Gizmodo, images via NASA)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.