The famous “Earth Sunrise” image taken by the Apollo astronauts of their home planet rising above the lunar horizon gave humanity a new perspective on our home. In a sign of how far we’ve come, amateur astronomers recently managed to take comparable pictures of our planet’s surface, showing what our future a home rising above the lunar horizon.
On Monday night and early Tuesday morning, it was possible to see the occulted moon or pass in front of Mars from our vantage point on Earth. Specifically, it was visible from the southern United States and most of Mexico and Central America.
The results for skilled sky watchers with decent astrophotography in this region included some pretty remarkable images of the red planet rising behind the Mare Smythii “dry ocean” on the lunar surface.
It may not be long before astronauts catch a similar view from the Moon, perhaps while visiting a waypoint there before traveling to Mars. NASA plans to build an orbiterin the coming years, allowing us to catch the “Mars sunrise” over the Moon from another vantage point.
As it stands now, a lunar occultation of Mars can be quite a rare phenomenon to see from Earth. Although there was another visible occultation in December, there won’t be another decent opportunity to see it from the surface until 2025.
By then, we may be closer to seeing Mars from the Moon in person.