BepiColombo looks at the Earth and we look at it in the very same moment: a mutual feeling.

We managed to track  the exciting BepiColombi flyby, yesterday at dawn. Incredibly, we grabbed the spacecraft while it was imaging planet Earth and our telescope location, exactly at the same time. Here it is this very inspiring mutual gaze.

The mutual gaze between BepiColombo and the Virtual Telescope. 10 Apr. 2020

The mutual gaze between BepiColombo and the Virtual Telescope. 10 Apr. 2020

The image above puts together several pieces. First of all, we have an image of our planet captured by BepiColombo, with parts of the probe in the foreground. It is part of a stunning movie released by the European Space Agency (ESA) and by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). In this image, we indicated with an arrow where the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) is placed on the Earth (Central Italy). On the left, there is a snapshot of the simulated approach of the probe, again from ESA. On the bottom left, you see an image of BepiColombo we captured with our robotic telescope, where the spacecraft is indicated by an arrow. Incredibly, both the images (the Earth by BepiColombo and BepiColombo by the Virtual Telescope on Earth) were taken at the very same time: 10 Apr. 2020, 03:40:32 UTC. Of course the snapshot from the simulator comes from the same moment.

We find this to be a truly inspiring mutual glance, bringing us a very special feeling of global connection, so precious in the critical moment we are facing all together.

Godspeed, BepiColombo!

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