Earthshine Bathes The Moon In Soft Light

Earthshine appears as a faint glow on the moon, softly illuminating the details of its surface. It happens when our planet reflects sunlight onto the moon's face, and is brightest in the spring (between April and June) when viewed from the northern hemisphere. For an astronaut on the moon, earthshine would have an even more literal meaning, as the Earth would appear spectacularly lit. The amount of solar energy reflected from the Earth is known as Earth's "albedo," and measuring it can help scientists to analyze climate change and the weather.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Leonardo da Vinci was the first known scientist to describe and explain earthshine. 00:19

  2. When the moon is rising toward full, you can see Earthshine after sunset; before a new moon, you can see it before sunrise. 00:44

  3. Measuring the changing intensity of Earthshine can help scientists study climate change. 01:18

Written by Curiosity Staff March 14, 2016

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