Our Planet

A Year of Earth From a Million Miles Away

by Our Planet


A year after returning it’s first image, NASA’s EPIC camera, a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope attached the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) shows us an entire year of Earth from almost one million miles away. The result is the amazing video below.
With the voice of Jay Herman, EPIC lead scientist.

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) is orbiting the Sun-Earth L1 point (1,500,000 km / 930,000 mi from Earth) in a six-month period, with a spacecraft-Earth-Sun angle varying from 4 to 15 degrees. Attached on it, EPIC (Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera) 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. The camera has now recorded a full year of life on Earth from its orbit, seen here.

A million miles away, NOAA’s DSCOVR, the Nation’s first operational satellite in deep space, orbits a unique location called Lagrange point 1, or L1. This orbit is a gravity neutral point in space, allowing DSCOVR to essentially hover between the sun and Earth at all times, maintaining a constant view of the sun and sun-lit side of Earth. From here, the satellite can provide advanced solar measurements and early warnings of potentially dangerous space weather events, acting as a solar storm buoy in deep space.

Thanks to NASA’s EPIC imager, DSCOVR’s orbit also gives Earth scientists a unique vantage point for studies of the atmosphere and climate by continuously viewing the sunlit side of the planet. EPIC provides global spectral images of of Earth and insight into Earth’s energy balance. EPIC’s observations provide a unique angular perspective, and are used in science applications to measure ozone amounts, aerosol amounts, cloud height.