I have seen this picture:


from "Hubble telescope Photos"

and was wondering how they managed to get both the moon and the earth in the same frame for a shot (a relative position/orbit circles would be nice) - or has this picture been altered or taken by something other than the Hubble telescope?

P.S. - a quick Google revealed an orbit height of 347 miles for the Hubble and a distance of 239 thousand miles for the Moon

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ A ton of the pictures in that slideshow are mislabeled; a lot of what is labeled as Hubble is actually CG. I have harsh words for whoever put that together. "View from inside the space station" is definitely not; there's no airplane cockpit dashboard in ISS and that view is well above LEO. Halley's comet, CG. Protostar, CG. Milky Way, obviously not a Hubble pic. Black hole, CG. Earth with clouds, again that's well above LEO, not Hubble; and the otherwise identical "without clouds" version should be a tip. Hubble doesn't resolve the outer planets anywhere near that well, either. $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2015 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove I guess I should have been more skeptical, I did notice the CG ones, but I couldn't tell that all those others you just listed at a first glance $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2015 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ Rule #1 of the internet: Don't believe everything you read or see or hear on the internet. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2015 at 6:44

2 Answers 2


No, Hubble is in low Earth orbit, much lower than the Moon. The shuttle delivered it to orbit, and the Shuttle can't get near the Moon.

The image you reference is very similar to one that came from DSCOVR, which is at a point about a million miles from Earth between the Earth and Sun, which always sees the sunlit portion of the Earth. However, there are some differences that just don't quite make sense. It seems more likely that someone simply inserted a picture of the Moon over the Earth. One of the key ways you can tell this is that the Moon is brighter than Earth, while in reality, the moon is rather dark. In fact, the brightness of the Earth and Moon should be reversed, the Earth bright, and the Moon dim.

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    $\begingroup$ While the composition is the same, OP's photo doesn't match any of the frames in that DSCOVR set; I think it's CG. $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2015 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Good catch, I just kind of assumed it was. I do remember now that the shadow on the moon was on the right hand side, this image is on the left. Interesting... $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Aug 21, 2015 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ And the moon is brighter than the Earth in the rendering, which is backwards. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Aug 21, 2015 at 16:53

No way it's from Hubble. Being in Low Earth orbit, Hubble will only see roughly the same side of the Moon we see on Earth. For reference, here's some images of the Moon from Hubble: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1999/14

The DSCOVR Satellite at at the L1 Earth-Sun Lagrangian Point recently captured a similar image, but with the Moon much closer (meaning the image would have to be from something even further).

Earth and Moon

The Moon is fully illuminated in the above image sequence, but still much darker than the one from the site claiming to be from Hubble.

Whatever captured that particular image would have had to tune its exposure specifically for the Moon then overlay it with a capture of the Earth.


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