NASA’s UA-run HiRISE camera, which usually occupies itself with the surface of Mars, turned around to grab a few shots of the Earth and its moon in November.
This image, released this week, shows our planet and its moon in half light, with Australia visible as a reddish blob in the center of the Earth.
It is a composite made from the best of four photos taken by HiRISE from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in November.
“We took four images. The ones where the Earth comes out looking good, the moon is too dim and vice versa,” said Kristin Block, science planning engineer with the HiRISE group at the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
The sizes of the bodies and the distance between them were not changed in creating the composite, Block said.
“It looks a little deceptive because there is a bit of a perspective shift,” she said. The moon is in the foreground of the image and the Earth in the background.
The image was taken as a calibration exercise for HiRISE, which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
“The moon was the target because we know the reflectance of the moon very, very well. Scientists have been looking at it for quite some time,” Block said.