On July 6, 2015, NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured its first image showing “the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.” In the following full-sized image, you can see North and South America and brilliant shades of turquoise representing the shallow seas surrounding the Caribbean islands. Behold:
Launched on Feb. 11, 2015, the DSCOVR spacecraft is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Air Force. According to NASA, “the primary objective of DSCOVR is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.”
NASA goes on to detail the specifics of DSCOVR’s image taking process:
This color image of Earth was taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope. 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.
Fortunately for us, NASA hopes to release a steady, daily diet of images like these on a dedicated DSCOVR website to be launched sometime this September. For now, bask in the glory of this sunlit Earth, with subsequent versions promising even clearer views.