This is what Earth looks like from one million miles away

The 'Blue Marble' image was released by Nasa today. Credit: DSCOVR/Nasa

A stunning new photograph of planet Earth from one million miles away has been shared by Nasa.

The "Blue Marble" picture is the first fully-illuminated single snapshot of Earth taken by the space association's DSCOVR satellite.

It is special because, as this blog by Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly explains, similar pictures of Earth are usually a composite of several different photos.

This is partly due to the sheer size of the planet - and the distance required to get a full view of it in one lens. By way of a comparison, Kelly notes that the International Space Station is a mere 249 miles away from Earth.

The other reason photos of our planet are so difficult, Kelly says, is lighting. To view the Earth fully illuminated, the camera must be situated in front of it, with the sun directly behind it. That is not easy to arrange on a satellite orbiting space at nearly thousands of miles per hour.

The new photo was taken on 6 July and shows North and Central America, with the turquoise areas in the middle the shallow seas around the Caribbean.

It was taken on a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope, and is generated by a combination of three separate pictures to create a "photographic-quality" picture.

The DSCOVR mission - a joint enterprise with America'sNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Air Force - launched in February and is tasked with providing data which will aid in predicting space weather alerts and forecasts.