NASA’s Lucy spacecraft got a unique perspective on the recent total lunar eclipse on the night of May 15.
Here on Earth, during a total lunar eclipse, the Moon takes on a reddish hue due to the remaining red wavelengths of sunlight traveling around the Earth and hitting the Moon’s surface. However, the Lucy probe, operated by the Southwestern Research Institute (SwRI), was able to observe the Moon and the Earth at a distance of about 100 million kilometers (65 million miles) from the latter.
“While total lunar eclipses aren’t that rare – they happen every year or so – it isn’t that often that you get a chance to observe them from an entirely new angle,” said planetary scientist Hal Levison of SwRI.
In the resulting video, Earth and its satellite can be seen in the distance, separated from each other by a distance of about 360,000 kilometers (224,000 miles), both illuminated by the Sun. The Moon is much fainter than the Sun, so scientists have lit it up to make it visible. As the video progresses, the Moon fades completely, swallowed up by Earth’s shadow.