The dark side of the moon is seen in a striking new video from NASA, as the Earth slips behind our lone natural satellite. This game of planetary photobombing revels some of the more stunning features on the surface, adding to a long history of observations.

The far side of the Moon was first seen in 1959 by the Soviet spacescraft Luna 3, and the Soviet Academy of Sciences published the first atlas of the features there the following year. The astronauts of Appollo 8 became the first humans to see the surface of the far side of the Moon disrectly, when they orbited the body in 1968.

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) studies the solar wind and our home planet itself from its vantage point, far beyond the orbit of the Moon. Our natural satellite is tidally locked to the Earth, so people normally see just a single side of the body. However, Dscovr is placed between our system and the Sun, allowing the vehicle to view the so-called dark side of the Moon.

"These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft," NASA reported.

Mare Moscoviense, a large plain on the surface of the far side of the Moon, is visible in the new animation, which shows the far side of the lunar surface, never seen by observers from Earth. Also featured in the image is Tsiolkovskiy crater.

"This animation features actual satellite images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DSCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) and telescope, and the Earth - one million miles away," the NASA.gov Video You Tube channel reports.

The Moon is composed of fairly dark material, and it is only the vast amount of sunlight that falls on its surface that makes it appear so white in the night sky. This new video highlights the dusky nature of the material which covers the lunar surface.

"Brightly lit Earth serves as a backdrop for the moon, which is itself illuminated thanks to the sunlight hitting it," Science Magazine states.

Tidal lock results in a satellite possessing a rotation (day) equal to the length of its revolution (year). Because of this, the misnamed dark side of the Moon is illuminated, at least in part, during half of each month.

In 2008, the Epic camera on board the Dscovr spacecraft recorded a similar event, but from a far greater distance than this latest release - 31 million miles from our home planet. During the earlier passage, the Moon was only partly bathed in sunlight.

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