Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 November 3
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

A Time-Lapse Lunar Eclipse
Credit & Copyright: Forrest J. Egan (Digital Astro)

Explanation: During last week's lunar eclipse, our Moon appeared to disappear. As the Earth moved between the Moon and the Sun, the Earth's shadow fell on the moon, making it quite dark. In the above picture the Earth's rotation, multiple exposures, and digital enhancements are used to create a time-lapse effect that dramatizes how the Moon looked as it faded out and re-appeared during the three hour lunar eclipse. As the Earth's shadow engulfed the Moon, the lunar images became less and less bright, practically disappearing during totality. At this time, the Moon, which normally shines by reflecting direct sunlight, shone only by sunlight refracted through the Earth's atmosphere. The next total lunar eclipse won't be visible from Earth until 2007.

Tomorrow's picture: Iris Nebula

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