L2 - Earthshine

In my opinion, earthshine is one of the most beautiful and interesting phenomenon in the Solar System. Normally, the side of the moon that is not directly illuminated by the Sun is not visible to observers on Earth. However, when the moon is a thin crescent, the dark side is not completely dark. When the moon is nearly new to an observer on Earth, the Earth would appear nearly full to an observer on the moon. All the light that is reflected from the Earth reaches the Moon and some of it reflects off the moon back toward the Earth.

There is so much difference in the brightness between the fully lit side and the side with Earthshine, that the lit side is completely overexposed in order to capture the Earthshine in this photo. It is a far more pleasing effect when seen with the eye.

Images © Doug Anderson

This image was taken on 22-Jun-2004 through a 203mm Celestron C-8 Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector afocally coupled to an Olympus C-700 digital camera through a 40mm eyepiece.