Published: Sun, October 28, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Photo of Earth from a distance of 43 million kilometers

Photo of Earth from a distance of 43 million kilometers

A camera aboard NASA's Parker Solar Probe captured these photographs looking back to Earth - the bright circle in the right-hand image - on September 25, 2018.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, mankind's first mission to "touch" the Sun, has captured images of the Earth from about 27 million miles away, the USA space agency said.

The two panels of WISPR's image come from the instrument's two telescopes pointed in slightly different directions with different fields of view. Since image shows a lot of stars and other celestial bodies, the agency zoomed in onto Earth, revealing a blurry, slight bulge on its right side.

Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, near the bottom of the left-hand image appeared elongated because of reflections on the edge of the detector.

When NASA's Parker probe took the stunning photo of Earth, it was located about 27 million miles from Earth.


The images also show objects such as Pleiades, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, which appear elongated because of reflections on the edge of the detector, according to the United States space agency.

The hemispherical-shaped in the middle of the right-hand image is a lens flare, which is caused by reflections within the lens system. Parker will become the first spacecraft that will fly through the Sun's corona - the outer part of the atmosphere of the star.

In this case, the flare is due to the very bright Earthshine, NASA noted. It will pass within 3.8 million miles of the sun's surface, exposing itself to temperatures as high as 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using Venus' gravity, NASA's Parker probe will complete seven flybys over the next seven years so it can gradually approach its planned orbit closer to the sun.

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