The image below, found in Was this the first-ever photo of a full moon very close to lunar new year? (and used here also) where it was credited to New photo of Lunar farside and Earth was taken by the microsatellite Longjiang-2 which accompanied Chang'e 4 lunar lander the Yutu-2 lunar rover. The signal was received by the Dwingeloo radio telescope but not really "hijacked".

There are many photos of the far side of the Moon, most reconstructed from many survey images, though this one is actually only a small part of the Moon taken from low lunar orbit.

Are photos from the Longjiang microsatellites the first unstitched single frame images to show substantial detail of almost all of the far side of the Moon?

note: "almost all" because you have to be at infinity to see an entire hemisphere, and "substantial" because images of the Earth-Moon system from deep space lack substantial detail.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ DISCOVR at the Sun-Earth L1 isn't stitching images together, and it imaged the moon's transit of the Earth in 2016. The "detail" you want isn't really objective though, so I don't know if this qualifies. Probably not, as the L1 is pretty significantly far away from the moon. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @MagicOctopusUrn i think it qualifies as an answer. For example i.sstatic.net/XZheu.jpg and i.sstatic.net/Skp8b.jpg do show the far side in some level of detail, and it could probably be enhanced (and you could probably do it yourself easily) if the color registration were improved. The EPIC camera has (at least) three color filters in a wheel and a monochrome camera, imaging each color image separately. For the images we see, they are adjusted in some way to compensate for Earth rotation, but the Moon moves farther between exposures. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MagicOctopusUrn If you look closely on the left and right edges you can see the mis-registered color. If you find the DSCOVR/EPIC website you can download the three (or more) individual images for each filter and then register them yourself, and possibly produce a higher resolution of the Moon than is typically shown. Or you can just show the images as distributed to the public. Either I think it counts as an answer! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ I asked about that yellow color, and the source of it if you want to take a crack at explaining why the yellow appeared only at the edges of the moon! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


The Longjiangs weren't the first. Here's a single snapshot taken by Japan's 1998 Nozomi, testing its camera en route to Mars (which is why it was far enough away).


Much earlier, Apollo 16 got almost the whole disc. Here's how they did it.

apollo 16


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