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"KAGUYA" successfully captured Earth's diamond ring

On Feb. 10 (JST), the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" successfully took an image of the moment when the Earth looked like a diamond ring by its onboard high definition camera. The moment came when a penumbral lunar eclipse (*) occurred and the view of the Sun from the KAGUYA was mostly covered by the Earth, thus the earth looked like a diamond ring. This is the first time that this phenomenon was shot from the Moon. (Image: (C) JAXA/NHK)

* A penumbral lunar eclipse is a phenomenon in which the Sun, Earth and Moon line up in tandem, hence the moon is in the Earth's penumbra, or, when you look from the Moon, the Sun is partially covered by the Earth (partial eclipse.) When the phenomenon occurs, the volume of light from the Sun to the Moon decreases, thus the Moon surface looks darker when you look it from the Earth.

February 18, 2009