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Emily LakdawallaApril 11, 2008

Beautiful new Earthrise and Earthset movies from Kaguya

JAXA and NHK have just released a new pair of videos from the high-definition television camera aboard Kaguya, of an Earthrise and Earthset with a near-full Earth. I grabbed individual frames from the movies to make the animations below, but you can visit the JAXA website to see smooth Flash versions of both movies.

Earthrise from Kaguya

JAXA / NHK

Earthrise from Kaguya
Kaguya captured these movies of a full Earth rising (above) and setting (below) behind the lunar limb with its high-definition camera on April 5, 2008. Flash versions of the movies may be viewed here and here.
As usual, they have only been released to the Web at a small fraction (I believe it's 25%) of their full resolution. If you're an educator by any definition -- schoolteacher, college professor, den mother, etc. -- you can request a copy of the full-resolution video on DVD; just email me and I'll send you a request form and contact information for Shin-Ichi Sobue at JAXA.I asked Seiji Mitsuhashi, the NHK representative who was showing off Kaguya video at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, a few questions about the camera, and he was kind enough to take the time to reply. Firstly, I asked him whether the HD camera is continuously recording images, or if it works just part of the time? He said that the HD camera generates too much data for live transmission; instead the video is compressed and stored within the camera system. If I understood his message correctly, he said that it takes about 20 minutes to transmit a 1-minute video to Earth. He said that the system has four different recording modes, each a different speed: there's normal speed, and then "interval modes" that record every 2nd, 4th, or 8th frame, producing time-lapse videos. For the most part they use the 8x interval mode, but Earthrises and Earthsets are recorded at slower speeds. Seiji said that the movie sequences are suggested based on advice from a "Mr. Shirao," who, he said, "is planning to publish a magazine." He also said that NHK doesn't currently have plans to release the videos onto the Internet.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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