Planetary scientist and former NASA employee James O’Donoghue has us used to creating fascinating animations and videos about our planet. Although he recently published an improved version of a timelapse that showed in a shocking way how the Earth would look if the water in all the oceans dried up, now, he has published a new video on his YouTube channel that reveals what the Earth looks like from the Moon and vice versa simultaneously, thanks to the use of NASA images, topography from our satellite and other scientific position data.
Although we always see the Moon from the Earth from the same side and “walking” through the sky, the question may arise as to whether this also happens the other way around. O’Donoghue has shown in this video that this is far from the case when the observer is located from the Moon.
The expert intermixed both views, of the Moon from the Earth and of the Earth from the Moon in an impressive video with the fast camera technique ( timelapse ) in which we can see the change of the two planets during a whole month. Have you ever wondered how we should see ourselves from the Moon? Here is the “mirror” created by O’Donoghue:
The computer generated video is in high resolution, and at a glance it allows us to contemplate at the same time how the Earth looks from the Moon and the Moon from the Earth. Each frame of the video represents 15 minutes of real time (in CGI form, at least), and allows us to observe a cosmic perspective like we have never seen before.
O’Donoghue also explained that, although the video may seem real, it was only based on some graphics, since its real objective of this timelapse was to show the phases, rotations, angles and changes in size between both objects in our solar system during these weeks of confinement.
Regarding the view of the Moon, it is exactly what we see every night when we look at the sky. This is due to the fact that the Moon has a fixed orbit, that is, the period and time of its rotation around the Earth are approximately the same, so it always shows the same side towards us. On the other hand, it is clear in the video that for the Earth, the opposite happens: the Earth is in constant motion, anyone who looks from the Moon to the Earth can always see the other side.
As the planetary scientist exposes through his social networks, even the lights of large cities can be observed in the “dark” parts of the Earth.
In O’Donoghue’s own annotations he clarifies that the lower central green circle of the video in question is there so that we can compare the Earth’s orbit to a circle (distance is shown below right) and that the orbit is not shown scaled in the diagram, but the relative size of the Earth-Moon is .
Have you already seen the video and appreciate a strange wobbling of the Moon in this accelerated version? It is called libration and, in essence, it is the set of oscillating movements of the Moon’s disk with respect to an observer located on Earth. This is an activity that we are not normally aware of, because they take place over days (and not seconds). These movements are responsible for the fact that we do not always see the Moon the same from Earth.