Feb 09, 2015 07:39 PM EST
Ever wonder what lies on the dark side of the moon? It's a perspective unlike any that humans have ever seen, and it has been a question that researchers and civilizations have asked for thousands of years. But now, thanks to data collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA is showing us exactly what lies on the dark side of the moon, and the view of our solar system whirling around it.
In the new video posted by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, one of the space agencies major research laboratories, viewers are able to see exactly what how the dark side of the moon differs from the illuminated face that we see here on Earth and it reveals that the "dark side" isn't always as dark as we might perceive. Utilizing a computer-generated time-lapse from two different vantage points, the video reveals the 27 day lunar cycle from the other side of the moon, with the Earth spinning in the background.
"Before the space age, no one knew what was on the other side of the moon" narrator and NASA spokesperson says in the new film. "Since 2009 the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been making some of the most detailed global maps of the moon's surface, making it much easier for everyone to see what it's like on the other side."
Though from the perspective of Earth the moon may seem to remain fixed in the sky, during the course of the 27 day cycle it takes to orbit the Earth, the moon's synchronous rotation allows those of us on Earth to view roughly 59 percent of the natural satellite's surface. The remaining 41 percent dubbed the "dark side" of the moon. But going through several rounds of the lunar cycle, the computer-generated time-lapse reveals that while we may not see the dark side that does not mean that it is not illuminated by the sun.
Going in a cycle opposite to that of what we see here on Earth, the dark side of the moon too goes through a lunar cycle from total darkness to a full moon view. And oddly enough, researchers now show that the dark side of the moon is in fact lighter than the face which we see.
Originally believed to be lunar seas by early astronomers, the dark volcanic plains on the moon named "maria" create distinct spots on surface of the moon. In fact 17 percent of the surface of the moon is covered in these smooth an dark maria that give the moon is spotted appearance, and almost all of them are visible on the face that shines over the Earth.
Want to check out the view? Let us know what you think about the dark side of the moon.
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