Portrait of Earth

LRO image of Earth from the Moon

Earth, as seen by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from a distance of over 372,000 kilometres.

There’s a common misconception that certain manmade things on Earth, such as the Great Wall of China, can be seen from the Moon.

In fact, nothing manmade is visible from the Moon—it’s just too far away.

But that doesn’t mean the view isn’t worth taking in.

This image was taken on June 12, 2010, by the Narrow Angle Cameras aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in orbit around the Moon.

It shows what our planet looks like from a distance of 372,334 kilometres.

Being mid-June, it is summer in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

The black and white image shows the bright polar ice cap over the Arctic Ocean, and cloud free skies over the Middle East.

Clouds stretch all the way from India on the left across to the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean on the right.

The image was taken to help with periodic calibration of LRO’s cameras.

There is a section missing near the bottom of the image due to a small miscalculation of the time when the Earth would be in the cameras’ field of view.

See the full-size, high-resolution image here (2MB, new window).

Adapted from information issued by Holli Riebeek / NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University.

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