A mind-boggling photo from NASA’s Lucy probe shows how far the moon is from Earth. Can you spot it?

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black photo in space shows small faint earth on the right and somewhere hidden faint moon
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and the moon from a distance of 890,000 miles, on October 13, 2022.

  • A new photo from NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captures Earth and the moon together — a rare sight.
  • The image reveals the vast space between us and the moon. About 30 Earths could fit there.
  • The moon is faint and small. Can you see it in the photo? If not, look below for a hint.

This is a picture of Earth and the moon. Our planet is obvious, on the far right side of the image, but the moon is a little harder to spot. Do you see it?

This isn’t a prank. The moon is there. NASA’s Lucy probe, a mission to a group of asteroids near Jupiter, snapped this photo as it zoomed past Earth on October 13. Not many spacecraft get this perspective of our planet and its rocky satellite.

earth black and white hanging in black space
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image (which has been cropped) of the Earth, on October 15, 2022.

It varies, but on average the moon is 238,855 miles from Earth. On a cosmic scale, that’s not very far, but you could fit 30 Earths into that space. That’s why it took three days for Apollo astronauts to reach the moon. NASA’s new lunar rocket, called the Space Launch System, is set to spend 25 days traveling to the moon, swinging a wide U-turn around it, and coming back to Earth. In short: It’s far away.

So do you see the moon in the image below? Here’s a hint: It’s on the left side of the picture.

black photo in space shows small faint earth on the right and somewhere hidden faint moon
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and the moon from a distance of 890,000 miles, on October 13, 2022.

Marina Koren, a staff writer covering space at The Atlantic, had trouble spotting it too.

“Every time I think I see it, I end up wiping another dust particle from my screen. Where is it??” she wrote on Twitter.

Well, it’s right here.

black photo in space shows small faint earth on the right and arrow pointing to faint moon on the left

Still don’t see it? Let’s turn up the brightness.

black photo in space shows small faint earth on the right and arrow pointing to faint moon on the left

So that’s how far away the moon really is.

The Lucy probe was swinging past Earth to get an extra boost toward Jupiter, flinging itself toward the outer solar system with the force of our planet’s gravity. To calibrate its instruments, the spacecraft’s camera system snapped these images from 380,000 miles away as it zoomed past.

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