Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Crescent Moon, Earthshine and Venus

Earthshine?

Best seen during Crescent Moon phases (the one to five day period before or after a New Moon), Earthshine is caused by direct sunlight on the earth that reflects onto the Moon which creates the smoky glow of the shadowed portion of the moon.

Click on the Earthshine link above for great information from NASA including these goodies:
Scientists in recent years have found that Earthshine is most intense during the northern spring months of April and May.  I could only see a milky glow even through binoculars.  But during the spring, you'll be able to see the Moon's features :)

Leonardo Di Vinci explained this phenomenon nearly 500 years ago!

This sketch by Leonardo is part of the Codex Leicester, written by Da Vinci between 1506 and 1510!  Oh, the mind this Renaissance artist had. Leonardo's journals and notes show what an "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination" he possessed.

After sunset tonight, take a peek at the sky to see Venus, the Crescent Moon and Earthshine for your very own. Venus will be to the lower left tonight.  Happy viewing and hopefully painting!!

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely painting, and great information and links. The sky and moon spark the imagination. I love this stuff!

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    1. You're very welcome, Kris! Thanks so for your great comment!!

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  2. Great sketch PJ and fascinating information. I never knew that phenomenon had a name! Can't wait to look tonight and be able to call it something. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Paula! Hope you had great viewing :)

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  3. Love the sketch and your information...and da Vinci's too!

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    1. Thanks, Kate. If you could pick someone in history to meet, da Vinci would be at the top of my list :)

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  4. I've always loved this moon phase but never knew it had a name. The sketch is beautiful and thanks for sharing it.

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  5. I, too, didn't know the term, 'earthshine,' but I have been very aware of it. Beautiful painting to show us what it is.

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