Despite the fact that from Earth humans can’t physically observe the far side of the moon as it always points away from Earth, we have developed the necessary tools to observe it indirectly.
China’s Longjiang-2 satellite, part of the fleet of satellites sent into orbit around the moon to support the Change’4 mission has taken a set of stunning new images while observing the far side of the moon and Earth, our magical blue marble in the background.
The image, captured on February 3 is the product of scientists from the Harbin Institute of Technology, which launched twin micro-satellites (Longjiang-2 and Longjiang-1) last spring with China’s Queqiao satellite.
One of the satellites, the Longjiang-1 was lost in the journey towards the moon, but Longjiang-2 has continued to operate and was woken by scientists last month following a silent operational period designed to avoid interfering with the Chang’e 4 lunar landing.
Now that the Chang’e 4 lander has touched down on the lunar far side, the satellite is fully operational again and has begun recording breathtaking images of the Earth and the far side of the moon.
The Satellite is equipped with an amateur radio transceiver which allows it to communicate with radio amateurs on Earth.
And the recently snapped image by the Longjiang-2 was downloaded by astronomers from the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope in the Netherlands.
“The first opportunity to take photos of Earth and Moon were on 3 February, on which a command was sent to take another timelapse,” explained astronomer Cees Bassa in a new blog post.
“The first image from this timelapse was downloaded with the Dwingeloo telescope on February 4, 2019. For the first time, the entire Moon and Earth are in view.”