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.
2022 November 7
Video Credit & Copyright: Jean-Luc Dauvergne (Ciel et Espace); Music: Valère Leroy & Sophie Huet (Space-Music)
Explanation: If the full Moon suddenly faded, what would you see? The answer was recorded in a dramatic time lapse video taken during the total lunar eclipse in 2011 from Tajikistan. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the Moon and the Sun, causing the moon to fade dramatically. The Moon never gets completely dark, though, since the Earth’s atmosphere refracts some light. As the featured video begins, the scene may appear to be daytime and sunlit, but actually it is a nighttime and lit by the glow of the full Moon. As the Moon becomes eclipsed and fades, background stars become visible and here can be seen reflected in a lake. Most spectacularly, the sky surrounding the eclipsed moon suddenly appears to be full of stars and highlighted by the busy plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. The sequence repeats with a closer view, and the final image shows the placement of the eclipsed Moon near the Eagle, Swan, Trifid, and Lagoon nebulas. Nearly two hours after the eclipse started, the moon emerged from the Earth’s shadow and its bright full glare again dominated the sky. Later today or tomorrow, depending on your location relative to the International Date Line, a new total lunar eclipse will take place — with totality being primarily visible over northeastern Asia and northwestern North America.