NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has finally captured and returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth. DSCOVR, launched February 11, 2015, reached its final destination on June 7 when it entered orbit around the 1st Lagrange point (L1), the neutral gravity point between the Earth and Sun, approximately 1.5 million km (~1 million miles) from our planet.
The first color image of Earth was taken by its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera or EPIC, a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope, on July 6, 2015.
The image was generated by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image. The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters - from ultraviolet to near infrared - to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these color images.
Image credit: NASA/NOAA/USAF - DSCOVR - July 6, 2015.
"The high quality of the EPIC images exceeded all of our expectations in resolution. The images clearly show desert sand structures, river systems and complex cloud patterns. There will be a huge wealth of new data for scientists to explore," said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Once the instrument begins regular data acquisition, EPIC will provide a daily series of Earth images allowing for the first time study of daily variations over the entire globe.
These images, available 12 to 36 hours after they are acquired, will be posted to a dedicated web page by September 2015.
Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA/USAF - DSCOVR - July 6, 2015.