Epic photos of the Earth from 1 Million Miles at Sol-Earth L1

On July 20, 2015, NASA released to the world the first image of the sunlit side of Earth captured by the space agency’s EPIC camera on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite. The camera has now recorded a full year of life on Earth from its orbit at Lagrange point 1, approximately 1 million miles from Earth, where it is balanced between the gravity of our home planet and the sun.
EPIC takes a new picture every two hours, revealing how the planet would look to human eyes, capturing the ever-changing motion of clouds and weather systems and the fixed features of Earth such as deserts, forests and the distinct blues of different seas. EPIC will allow scientists to monitor ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, cloud height, vegetation properties and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth.

The primary objective of DSCOVR, a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, 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.

For more information about DSCOVR, visit: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Kayvon Sharghi

HT/Peter L

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64 thoughts on “Epic photos of the Earth from 1 Million Miles at Sol-Earth L1

  1. An inspiring perspective of our home! The cyclonic low pressure systems around antarctica are mesmerizing…

    • Yes, I’m not clear why we don’t see the moon during the eclipse. The moon is at about 400,000km and L1 is 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

      Why do they catch the shadow but not the moon itself? I seem to recall an earlier event where several shots from DSCOVR did have the moon on them. I played around with those images.

      • Yes, I’m not clear why we don’t see the moon during the eclipse.

        Because DSCOVR isn’t exactly at L1 (in line between the Earth and the Sun).

        See the following link for a “transit” without an “eclipse shadow” (because it wasn’t an eclipse, it was a “near miss”).

        • “Because DSCOVR isn’t exactly at L1” Probably more accurate to say it’s in orbit around L1. And even then, it needs some occasional adjustments to stay there. The L1 is a three body stable point but it’s not fully stable in a multi-body system like the solar system (especially when the Earth is not one of the largest bodies present).

    • Am I wrong ,but in the first video the commentator said the sunRISE was in the west,&the sunSETin the east?
      Iam sure the sun rises in the east,&sets in the west .

      • The westernmost edge of the sunlit side is experiencing sunrise while the easternmost edge is experiencing sunset.

  2. It’s amazing to see how much of the earth is consistently covered by clouds throughout the year.

    Although clouds (depending on type and elevation) both warm and cool earth, most evidence show clouds have a net cooling effect, especially at the equator.

    It’s CMIP5 models’ inability to accurately simulate cloud formation and cloud cover’s net effect on earth’s climate that likely explains the huge disparity between model warming projections vs. reality, in addition to excessive CO2 warming, which is baked into the climate models…

    Until models and the CAGW hypothesis in general can acuarely account for cloud cover they will continue to be almost worthless in predicting earth’s climate…

    • Yep, evaporation, cloud formation, precipitation, advection … virtually the whole water cycle which is the basis of the climate system.

      Without “science based” models capable of reliably creating credible simulations of whole of the water cycle the whole exercise is not fit for the purpose of anticipating future climate nor the effects of any changes in “forcings” of one sort or another. Totally unfit for purpose.

    • AMEN

      …further, as we all know, clouds reflect sunlight
      Question: How does the IPCC account for cloud reflection and therefore the lack of ‘heating’ due to this very normal effect?

      • The next question is what the clouds look like now as opposed to in 2015. Does the solar minimum really make it cloudier (as I have observed at 39N-90W)?

    • Because of the alarmist’s meme about “dark water” in the Arctic being responsible for accelerating warming when ice melts, I paid particular attention to the Arctic in this animation. While it is difficult to tell ice from clouds, I saw little evidence of any of the magic “dark water.”

      The TV program 60 Minutes had a section last night about the Japanese invasion of Attu Island in the Aleutian Chain. The comment was made that there are only 8 days a year when the fog and clouds lift and planes are able to land. That doesn’t look like “dark water” could be of much influence in the Arctic.

      • But Attu island is covered with sheep (I was stationed there) so it is exceptionally reflective. Theory blown.

        • F.LEGHORN
          No, you just provided evidence for the great MSM conspiracy. There was not a woolly in sight. They must have hid them. All the camera crew showed was green grass (maybe AstroTurf laid down at great expense to fool the viewers!).

    • Just another example of low resolution data. Like the infallible models use to justify a change of world order.

  3. I was going to congratulate them for going a whole ~2 1/2 minutes without mentioning it.
    But they just couldn’t stop themselves, when commenting how clouds help regulate “how warm Earth becomes” before adding the mandatory platitude about protecting it.

    • Oh come on. They only said the word “protect”. It was hardly an alarmist commentary.

      Maybe realising that clouds are effectively “protecting” us already will be a key part of “protecting” the planet from authoritarian UN dictatorship and attempts to kill us all off from lack of energy and destroy our lives.

    • But water vapor is THE significant greenhouse gas, and cloudy nights are noticeably warmer than clear nights, that is measurable. So this is a useful counter to the ‘CO2 control knob’ meme. Don’t misunderstand, it does make sense to study clouds, else we’ll never figure out either the weather or the climate…

      • Not only cloudy nights but humid nights! With those often come humid days when the air can’t heat up as much due to evaporation, but it feels to us like a boiler at 85F. The dew point and enthalpy decide the diurnal temperature range in any locality where the air is not totally anhydrous, as is the lab environment where the lesser GHGs are shown to affect temperature through photon re-emission, and theoretically retard atmospheric cooling.

    • When did THIS become the. NASA slogan?

      “Your planet is changing. We’re on it”

      But then again … that’s what Socialists are really good at … sloganeering.

        • And they have no choice but to be on it, though it might be preferable if they were on their modeled planet instead.

    • Keep in mind that this was originally Goresat, intended to provide pretty pictures of Earth for climate propaganda. It was shelved, then re-purposed for useful space weather forecasting.

  4. Truly awesome, a most incredible view. This was time-lapse photography, right? Or is this as fast as the earth appears to be spinning when viewed from the vantage point of the satellite? I know it’s gravity that holds us in place, but it almost makes me dizzy just thinking about the spinning. Lol!

    • Not sure if your serious or not, but yes it’s time lapse photography. It would take a year to watch a year’s worth of actual speed film of the Earth rotation. And 24 hours to see a single day. So every time you see an area come up in the film, that’s one day.

  5. Well there it is, proof positive. Where is David Attenborough to tell the world, “due to man’s effect on the Earth the planet has sped up. If we do not limit the burning of fossil fuels and generation of earth spinning CO2 we only have 12 years left”
    Just 12 years before centrifugal force ejects us off into space creating another ringed planet mimicking Saturn.
    Great images, thank you NASA and NOAA. when you stick to doing science you are often very good.

  6. Neil deGrasse Tyson true is the earth is an oblate spheroid, so why is this video showing what appears to be a perfect sphere?

    • john in cheshire

      In https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-not-round/
      you read:

      “Isaac Newton first proposed that Earth was not perfectly round. Instead, he suggested it was an oblate spheroid—a sphere that is squashed at its poles and swollen at the equator. He was correct and, because of this bulge, the distance from Earth’s center to sea level is roughly 21 kilometers (13 miles) greater at the equator than at the poles.”

      I don’t think that we would be able to see such a tiny difference from a Lagrange point…

    • That “not a perfect sphere” stuff is just a “I’m smarter than you” talking point. The Earth is actually closer to a sphere than any human made ball. The pumps on a basketball are relatively higher than any earth mountains and the Earth is non-spherical to less than the relative size of those bumps.

  7. Nice, but one hemisphere at the time (or even better interactive with choice of favourite meridian cantering) view could be preferable.

    • Vuk,

      We already have that with the geostationary wx sats. Since one of the main missions of this instrument was measuring the solar ultraviolet reflectivity, it is always looking at local ‘noon’. You don’t see too much U/V rlectivity at night 😉

    • One frame per 24 hours on the same meridian would be interesting. The Earth would apparently slowly nod up and down with the seasons. I wonder if the 2-hour snapshots are tightly synchronised to UTC?

  8. From the article: “The camera has now recorded a full year of life on Earth from its orbit at Lagrange point 1, approximately 1 million miles from Earth, where it is balanced between the gravity of our home planet and the sun.”

    We ought to put a big telescope at this location and network it with a similar one in orbit near the Earth and this would give us a telescope with an effective diameter as wide as Earth’s orbit.

    I think this happening is inevitable. The only question is the timing. The sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

    • Telescopes are “big” to increase their light gathering power and image resolution. No matter how far apart you place two telescopes you still only have the light gathering power and resolution of two telescopes.

    • 1. In this series, the Earth is “below” the direct line between the sun and Earth. Notice the dominant view of Antarctica and the South Pole.
      2. DSCVR uses a telephoto lens to image the Earth, so the Moon is not in the image FOV. It is “above” the top of the image. A wide angle lens of the Earth from 1M miles would make the Earth a small dot and then you’d see the sun-lit side of the Moon as it is going around the Earth.

  9. I thought the Earth was a flat disk. Is this just a video simulation to further deceive the masses? 🙂

  10. It’s Monday morning before my first coffee, and the earth is already spinning too fast for me.

  11. At the end of the video it says:

    “Your planet is changing. We’re on it. NASA”

    That ought to make everyone feel better.

  12. CHAOS ==> For those interested in Chaos Theory and its applicability to the real world, watching closely reveals the fingerprint of chaotic swirls (in the clouds) that form in both hemispheres. These are “predicted” by the early work of Dave Fultz (1921-2002), working in the University of Chicago’s famous Hydrodynamics Lab, simulating the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. see Here and Here.

  13. I’ve been trying to figure out if DSCOVR’s EPIC instrument has confirmed or refined our understanding of the Earth’s Bond Albedo. It is an ideal vantage point to observed the hourly, daily, monthly, seasonal and annual evolution of that crucial data point. This paper [link] seems more about comparing results from EPIC and the other Earth Orbiting Satellites. [http://sites.bu.edu/cliveg/files/2018/10/w-song-rs-2018.pdf]. It seems [to this layman] that the EPIC instrument is capable of better measurements than EOS due to but I’ll be damned if I can find those results. [pull quote: “The DSCOVR EPIC provides spectral images of the entire sunlit Earth in the near backscattering
    direction every 65 to 110 min. We estimated the Earth’s scattering function, which in turn is an
    accurate approximation of the geometric albedo. This variable is free of Sun-sensor geometry effects
    and directly related to the properties of the Earth’s atmospheric system. The sampling areas of Terra
    MODIS, MISR, Aqua MODIS and GOES-East instruments (Figure 1) were used to represent the EOS
    Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1594 19 of 24
    data. We derived the scattering function over their sampling areas using EPIC data. The difference
    between the EOS and EPIC estimates were taken as a measure of the uncertainties in the estimation
    of the Earth’s reflectivity”]

  14. We have years of talking points from AGWers about the dark open water of the Arctic ocean absorbing more sunshine and therefore heating up more …… and what we see here is the north pole area being covered in clouds pretty much ALL the time.

  15. I find the video annoying. To be fulfilling for viewing, I think the pace needs to be much slower. At present, it comes across to me as manic and visually upsetting, to the point that nobody can really focus on anything.

    • Agree. However you can change the speed of the video by clicking on the “Gear” icon in the lower right corner. It’s still kinda jerky – just a teensie bit more watchable.

  16. Just another example of low resolution data. Like the infallible models use to justify a change of world order.

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