Cool NASA gif shows moon circling Earth from 1million miles away

This animation shows images of the far side of the moon, illuminated by the sun, as it crosses between the DISCOVR spacecraft's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera and telescope, and the Earth - one million miles away.

NASA/NOAA

This is what it looks like when the moon soars past the Earth -- from the perspective of the sun.

Floating on NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite 1 million miles above the planet, the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera captured several images of the moon as it crossed the sunlit side of Earth last month.

The pictures show the "dark side" of the moon that is never visible from Earth, fully illuminated by the sun. Behind it you can see the Pacific Ocean and North America.

Launched in February (after a couple failed attempts), DSCOVR hovers in orbit 1 million miles away from the Earth, staying between the planet and the sun at all times.

The satellite is a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, and will supply real-time solar wind modeling, measure ozone levels and send back an unprecedented trove of images taken from its unique vantage point.

EPIC is still in its testing phase, but last month it sent back its first portrait of Earth, the most distant picture taken since the Apollo era. The stunning image went viral and even inspired the President to tweet, "Just got this new blue marble photo from @NASA. A beautiful reminder that we need to protect the only planet we have."

Starting in September, the satellite will beam home pictures every single day for the life of the mission.

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com