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.
2002 April 19
Explanation: Also known as the Moon's "ashen glow" or "the old Moon in the new Moon's arms", Earthshine is Earthlight reflected from the Moon's night side. This dramatic image of Earthshine and a young crescent Moon was taken by astrophotographer and APOD translator Laurent Laveder from the remote Pic du Midi Observatory on planet Earth. But the view from the Moon would have been stunning too. When the Moon appears in Earth's sky as a slender crescent, a dazzlingly bright, nearly full Earth would be seen from the lunar surface. The Earth's brightness, due to reflected sunlight, is strongly influenced by cloud cover and recent studies of Earthshine indicate that it is more pronounced during April and May. A description of Earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth's oceans in turn illuminating the Moon's dark surface, was written 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.