Akatsuki, the first Japanese planetary probe designed to travel to Venus to examine its climate, sent back images of the Earth on Friday, when its three cameras were tested, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Sunday.
Two of the images, which captured the infrared and ultraviolet rays radiated by the sun and reflected by the Earth, show a crescent Earth as they captured part of the planet in darkness.
Another photo, which captures infrared rays beamed from the Earth’s surface and atmosphere at a different wavelength shows the entire planet clearly, including the Antarctic, where temperatures are lower.
The images were taken around 8:50 p.m. on Friday, about 250,000 kilometers from the Earth and roughly 14 hours after a rocket carrying the space probe lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, when its camera functions were being tested, according to Masato Nakamura, JAXA’s project manager.
That is roughly equivalent to about two-thirds the distance between the Earth and the moon, which are about 380,000 km apart.
Read the rest of the story: Images taken by Venus probe Akatsuki show crescent Earth