Earthrise and Earthset over the Moon

Just last year, on September 14, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had launched a Lunar Orbital Explorer “KAGUYA“, and now, the spacecraft are returning amazing images of our Moon.

We are used to sunrise and sunset. Some may also used to moonrise and moonset. How about Earthrise and Earthset? No… not for Earthlings sticking to the surface of Earth. To see Earthrise and Earthset, we have to be not on Earth.

That’s why these two movies from KAGUYA capturing the Earthrise and Earthset over the Moon are so special. These are the perspectives that can never be seen from Earth.

Kaguya Earthrise animation

Animation of Earthrise from Kaguya. Click here for the high-definition movie. Credit: JAXA/NHK/Emily Lakdawalla.

Kaguya Earthset_ani

Animation of Earthset from Kaguya. Click here for the high-definition movie. Credit: JAXA/NHK/Emily Lakdawalla.

These two movies of a full Earth rising and setting behind the Moon’s limb are captured by Kaguya with its high-definition camera on April 5, 2008. The above are just animations of the individual frames from the movies by Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society. Click on the movie links above to see smoother versions of the movies.

Actually, KAGUYA had captured these scenes before in November 2007. However, the Earth that time is not a “full Earth”; it is a “gibbous Earth”. This time, it succeeded in capturing the full Earthrise without any wane.

This is not an opportunity you have everyday… to capture the Full Earth, the Moon, the Earth, the Sun and KAGUYA’s circulating orbits have to fall into a straight line. This arrangement only occurs twice a year.


~ by thChieh on April 19, 2008.

2 Responses to “Earthrise and Earthset over the Moon”

  1. […] it was launched, Kaguya has been bringing us unprecedented images of our nearest companion, and sometime even amazing picture of us. Still, I never have enough… keep them coming […]

  2. […] to the Moon Soon, India Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is going to join the Japanese Kaguya and the Chinese Chang’e-1 at the […]

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