NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team invites the public to wave at the Moon on Aug. 21 as LRO turns its camera toward Earth.
[i][b]Above[/b]: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has observed solar eclipses
from its vantage point at the moon before. The image LRO takes of Earth on Aug. 21, 2017, is expected to look similar to this view, which the satellite captured in May 2012. Australia is visible at the bottom left of this image, and the shadow cast on Earth's surface by the moon is the dark area just to the right of top-center.[/i] (NASA/GSFC/ASU)
The LRO Camera, which has captured gorgeous views of the lunar landscape and documented geologic activity still occurring today, will turn toward Earth during the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 at approximately 2:25 p.m. EDT (11:25 a.m. PDT) to capture an image of the Moon's shadow on Earth.
"I'm really excited about this campaign because it is something so many people can be a part of," said Andrea Jones, LRO public engagement lead at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "So much attention has been focused on the lucky folks who will get to experience eclipse totality, but everyone in an entire hemisphere of the Earth can wave at the Moon as LRO takes our picture!"
During the eclipse the Moon will be far enough from Earth that the resolution of the images are 2.5 miles per pixel. While the LRO Camera won't be able to see people or buildings, it will be able to see the continents, clouds and large surface features.
"While people should not expect to see themselves in the images, this campaign is a great way to personalize the eclipse experience," said Noah Petro, LRO deputy project scientist at Goddard.
A note of caution: the only time it's safe to look at the Sun without eye protection is if you're in the 70-mile-wide path of totality and only during the minutes of totality. Do not look directly at the Sun at any other time without certified eclipse glasses. For more information on eclipse eye safety