Solar System Chatter

DSCOVR Finally Sees Earth

The idea for the space mission was born in 1998, and now, so many years later DSCOVR has finally done what its creator, Al Gore, wanted so badly for it to do: Sent back its first incredible picture of the full disk of the Earth in the sunlight. The color image is a combination of the red, green, and blue images from EPIC, or the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, which takes a series of images with 10 narrow wavelength filters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will have a webpage dedicated to DSCOVR’s Earth images up by September. NOAA and NASA scientists will use the data to measure the planet’s albedo (its reflectivity, which is a function of how much heat the atmosphere is retaining) and its ozone and aerosol levels, study vegetation, and make dust and volcanic ash maps.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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