Earthshine

Earthshine
Earthshine

Earthshine: the soft light of our planet reflected off the Moon

The Moon was two days past new and it was a good time to see some earthshine this evening.

Earthshine is the term used for the light reflected off the daytime side of the Earth which then reflected again off the dark side of the Moon facing towards us. The bright crescent of light is the part of the Moon which is receiving sunlight. If you were standing on the Moon you would see a nearly full Earth shining back at you.

As the Moon swings back around and the sunlit crescent grows larger it tends to drown the earthshine out, as well as it receiving less reflected light from Earth, so the best time to see it is a few days either side of New Moon.

Earthshine can be even more noticeable in the morning sky, when the old, waning Moon rises just before dawn. Your eyes are more adapted to the dark night and the earth-lit portion of the Moon rises first, before the sunlit crescent. It’s often a stunning sight, and well worth the trouble of being up so early!

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