Lunar Explorer 'Kaguya' Shoots 'Earth-rise,' 'Earth-set' w/ HDTV Camera

Nov 14, 2007
Chiho Matsuda, Nikkei Monozukuri
Screen capture from Earth-rise video: The image of the moon's surface near its North Pole. The Arabian Peninsula, Indian Ocean, etc can be seen on the Earth.
Screen capture from Earth-rise video: The image of the moon's surface near its North Pole. The Arabian Peninsula, Indian Ocean, etc can be seen on the Earth.
[Click to enlarge image]
Screen capture from Earth-set video: The image of the moon's surface near its South Pole. The Australian Continent can be seen on the center left of the Earth.
Screen capture from Earth-set video: The image of the moon's surface near its South Pole. The Australian Continent can be seen on the center left of the Earth.
[Click to enlarge image]
Earth-set: The Earth is setting on the moon's horizon near its South Pole. The time between the image on the left and the image on the right is roughly 70 seconds.
Earth-set: The Earth is setting on the moon's horizon near its South Pole. The time between the image on the left and the image on the right is roughly 70 seconds.
[Click to enlarge image]

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) succeeded in taking images of "Earth-rise" and "Earth-set" with a high-definition television (HDTV) camera mounted on the lunar explorer "Kaguya (Selene)."

Earth-rise and Earth-set are the phenomena where the Earth goes above and below the moon's horizon. (Click here for the video.) This is the world's first HD image of Earth taking from space approximately 380,000km away, said JAXA.

Earth-set was shot at 12:07 p.m. Nov 7, 2007 (Japan Standard Time; JST). Then the Earth-rise was taken at 2:52 p.m. Nov 7, 2007 (JST). In both cases, the image data obtained by the HDTV camera developed by NHK were received at JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center and processed by NHK.

Earth-rise and Earth-set are phenomena seen only from satellites that travel around the moon, such as Kaguya and the Apollo spaceship. Earth-rise cannot be observed by a person who is on the moon because the Earth is always seen at the same position.