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article imageNASA releases 'epic' photo of Earth

By David Silverberg     Jul 20, 2015 in Science
Today NASA published another awe-inspiring glimpse of Planet Earth. The Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has snapped its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.
NASA proclaims this photo is EPIC as a cheeky joke about the technology that gave us this image of the planet. Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope, took the photo by combining three separate images to create a photographic-quality image.
As a NASA release explains, "The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters -- from ultraviolet to near infrared -- to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used in these Earth images."
The image shows North and Central America, with the Caribbean islands positioned in the turquoise areas in the center.
"The high quality of the EPIC images exceeded all of our expectations in resolution," said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The images clearly show desert sand structures, river systems and complex cloud patterns. There will be a huge wealth of new data for scientists to explore."
Today's photo release even caught President Barack Obama's attention, who tweeted at 10:47 a.m. ET:
As NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said:
This first DSCOVR image of our planet demonstrates the unique and important benefits of Earth observation from space. As a former astronaut who's been privileged to view the Earth from orbit, I want everyone to be able to see and appreciate our planet as an integrated, interacting system. DSCOVR's observations of Earth, as well as its measurements and early warnings of space weather events caused by the sun, will help every person to monitor the ever-changing Earth, and to understand how our planet fits into its neighborhood in the solar system.
Last week, other NASA photos went viral. Digital Journal reported on the first batch of photos released showing Pluto's moon Nix.
More about NASA, Earth, Photo, Obama, Deep Space Climate Observatory
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