Chinese Satellite Reveals Image of Moon’s Far Side and Earth Together

Chinese Satellite Reveals Image of Moon’s Far Side and Earth Together

A Chinese satellite swooped behind the moon and snapped a shot of two worlds: the heavily-cratered moon, and in the distance, the cloud-covered planet Earth. Longjiang-2 captured this photo during the new moon, when the Earth-facing side of the moon was completely dark and the far side was entirely illuminated instead.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China on December 8, 2018, and entered orbit around the Moon five days later. But none of this would be possible without Longjiang-2 and Queqiao, which are serving as critical relay satellites, allowing mission controllers to stay in contact with Chang'e-4 as it works on the Moon's hidden side. "The far side of the moon has many more visible craters than the side of the moon that we can see from Earth", Dijkema wrote in a blog post about the latest image. Longjiang-2 has been a success, although during the Chang'e-4 landing the satellite was silent in order to not interfere with communications between the Earth and the lander. However, the tiny satellite became active again on 13th January 2019.

Most astronomers agree that the Moon was formed in a huge impact between a Mars-sized object and the Earth, about 100 million years after the formation of the Solar System.

Longjiang-2 had to take a little break from photography for a few months to avoid interfering with the landing of Chang'e 4, but it now appears to be back at it. The tiny satellite is capable of carrying out some complex scientific studies through space. The first image from this timelapse was downloaded with the Dwingeloo telescope on February 4, 2019.

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