This incredible image was released by NASA on December 18, 2015.
The image was taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and shows the stunning beauty of the Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the Moon.
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But here’s the interesting part, if you were to step foot on the Moon, you would not see the Earth ‘rise’ the way we are able to witness both the Sun and the Moon rising because the Moon is tidally locked.
Tidal locking, or synchronous rotation, is when an object’s orbital period matches its rotational period and not only is our Moon is a wonderful example of this, it is the reason we always see the same side of the Moon facing the Earth.
Owing to this tidal locking, from the lunar surface, the Earth is always in the same spot above the horizon, with only a slight variance due to the Moon’s (minute) wobble.
So the Earth doesn’t rise and move across the lunar sky. But it does rotate upon its own axis, providing an ever-changing view.
Here’s another Blue Marble, taken in 2002. I really like this one – for obvious reasons 🙂
And from the east coast of Australia this morning, at 4:47 am, this is what the Moon looked like.
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This is my next entry in my Blue Moon Squares as part of Becky’s ‘Blue’ Square in July photo challenge.
what fantastic photographs of the Moon and the earth . . . and isn’t it fascinating how we talk about both the Moon and sun rising
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I always thought you’d see the Earth rise from the surface of the Moon. How amazing is it that it’s just ‘there’ slowly spinning?