We’ve seen it before, but never this clearly. For the first time, China’s Longjiang-2 satellite photographed the entirety of the Moon’s far side and the Earth in a single shot, Popular Mechanics reports.
The 16 kilobyte image was downloaded by the Dutch Dwingeloo Radio Telescope over the course of about 20 minutes.
This photo of Earth and the Lunar farside, maybe our best ever, was taken yesterday by the Chinese Lunar satellite DSLWP-B (Longjiang-2). The Dwingeloo telescope downloaded the photo from the satellite this morning. More info at https://t.co/sKt7w9mol9 pic.twitter.com/IsnyvqekTz
— Dwingeloo Telescoop (@radiotelescoop) February 4, 2019
Earlier photos showed off the Moon with the Moon in the foreground, reminiscent of NASA’s Apollo missions.
China’s Longjiang-2 satellite entered the Moon’s orbit in June 2018, alongside its sibling satellite Queqiao. Queqiao has also played a crucial role in China’s lunar lander mission, relaying information about China’s Chang’e-4’s lander since it landed earlier this year.
It lost its twin satellite Longjiang-1 back in May 2018 when it spun off and lost contact with the Chinese National Space Administration back on Earth.
Queqiao and Longjiang-2 are still orbiting the moon, though, so we’ll likely see many more stunning images of our closest neighbor in the future.