Observational Astronomy

Earth’s Shadow

Crescent Moon with Earthshine
Photo by Tony Kroes at the Cedar Drive
Observatory near Pulaski, WI.

Just a couple of quick thoughts to share – While out comet watching, I turned to face the east. I wanted to see how many stars were out. I noticed a dark arc in the sky just above the east horizon. I thought it was my eyes adjusting to shifting from looking at the brighter part of the sky to the darker part.

It turns out, the arc was really the earth’s shadow! I had never stopped to think about that before. I’m sure you’ve all seen it and may not have know what it was. Next time your out see if you can spot the earth’s shadow.

The other thing I want to mention is earth shine. This great picture of the moon, taken by Tony Kroes shows the crescent moon. But we can still see the rest of the moon too! Why is that? Well the earth is reflecting sunlight onto the moon, or what we call earth shine! Very beautiful. I know you’ve all seen that too, but maybe never really thought about it.

Watch for it the next few nights while the moon is still a crescent!


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