Monday, January 9, 2017 to 19 h 27 – An enchanting panorama. NASA published last weekend a beautiful image of the Earth and the Moon taken from an assembly of photographs taken 205 million km from us by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) satellite calibrating its camera.
The cliché was taken in November 2016 by the MRO, a powerful telescope that revolved around Mars for ten years. Normally, its integrated device called HiRise takes images close to the Martian soil with its dunes, its craters, its mysterious dry rivers (water has sunk one day?). It is only rarely that HiRise turns its back on the red planet to photograph the immensity of space.
It was necessary to assemble six photographs, made for the purpose of technical calibration, to compose this result. Each photo was first processed electronically, in particular to lighten the Moon, which “would hardly be visible if it was on the same scale of luminosity as the Earth”, NASA explains on its site.
Antarctica is located on the lower left, the island in the center is Australia, and the red part at the top is Southeast Asia. The Earth and the Moon appear closer than they really are, for the cliché was taken when the natural satellite was almost directly behind the Earth, seen since Mars.