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.
2011 June 21
Explanation: A celestial prelude to today's solstice, the June 15 total lunar eclipse was one of the longest in recent years. It was also one of the darkest, but not completely dark. Even during totality, a somber, red lunar disk could be seen in the starry night sky, reflecting reddened light falling on to its surface. Seen from a lunar perspective, the ruddy illumination is from all the sunsets and sunrises around the edges of a silhouetted Earth. In this sharp portrait of the eclipsed Moon from Granada, Spain, the Moon's edge reflects a bluish tinge as well as it emerges from Earth's umbral shadow. The bluer light is still filtered through Earth's atmosphere, but originates in rays of sunlight passing through layers high in the upper stratosphere. That light is coloured by ozone that absorbs red light and transmits bluer hues.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.