Monday, October 27, 2008

Earthshine Refraction and Moon Illusion

Actually I went out just to capture the celestial gathering of Saturn and the Moon, the image below, when by chance I got a cool image of a squashy honking big brown Moon, may not be the proper astronomical terms, but the Moon looked astronomical none the less.

Notice the Moon's flat bottom, this is caused by the refraction of the Moon's light back onto itself from all the dust and water particles in our lower atmosphere, kind of bends the light upwards onto itself. The same particles scatter the blues of the Moonlight and allow the reds through to be seen by us, hence a red brown Moon. Then we have what we call the Moon illusion, because the Moon being so close to the ground, our mind by comparing it to the Earthly surroundings make the Moon seem very large.

The Earthshine is caused by the Sunlight reflecting off the Earth onto the Moon lighting up the Moon's night side, the bright part of the Moon we see in the images is the Sunlight reflecting off the Moon directly to us, what we call Moonlight.

Below are some more Moon with Earthshine images I took on my outing.

Just a reminder if you want to enter the "Find and Photograph The Daytime Moon Contest" now is the time to take your Pics. The Moon will be in it's New Moon Phase tomorrow but will start waxing to larger crescents after that, closing date will be November 3rd, lots of opportunity to get your daytime crescent Moon and maybe even win 50 pairs of Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus 3D glasses, think of the possibilities, all the 3D parties you could throw, great stocking stuffers, boggles the mind.

I'll leave you now with an animated daytime crescent Moon complete with clouds.


Max said...

Hey Lord of the Astropics!

You are right: that is one astronomical moon! You captured it just beautifully...yet its shape is a bit odd, isn't it?

Gorgeous moonlights, Bob: I love it when your outings are so fruitful ;D!

Lord of the Astropics, I don't see any moon on this daytime moon pic...too many clouds (which made me think of cotton candy now Mmmmm).

Oooh, now in the animated Gif image I can see it: it is so subtle and subtly huge too! Ignore what my previously lack-of-vision-statement, please! :)

I wish you a fantastic week, my friend!


Livingsword said...

Hi Bob!

You don’t fool me that is Pac Man taking a bite out of the Moon!

Bob….“squashy honking big brown Moon”….“Moon's flat bottom”…”Moon seem very large”…thank you for this list of what not to say when she asks “how does this look on me?”

Very cool images Bob…love the Earth shine…

Mike said...

Geat pictures of the Moon Bob. It still looks bigger on the horizon even in the pictures. Strange.

I saw the Moon once low near the horizon here and it looked so close I can touch it.

zsygab said...

WOOOW! Great captures! And great post too...

Genie said...

Stunning shots, Bob! Especially that first one, I love it. These are the kinds of moon captures I ache to snap. So surreal, and magical.

CJ Harley said...

Awesome shot of the moon! Looking forward to more pictures.

burningwindmill said...

I love your squashy brown moon :-)

PlancksPost said...

That top pic is unreal! I love looking at the moon as it's rising or setting it looks so huge when you have a frame of reference like stuff on the ground!

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Bob, SUPERB photos!!! I had no idea the moon became squashy. You're a great teacher. I must admit to believing you were an instructor for a long time at a college. You have the makings. Ever think you missed your calling?

I'm hunting for the daytime moon!!! Hope to have a photo to send to you soon.

Hugs, JJ

Lidian said...

Those are amazing photos!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks max, glad you like the pics and found the daytime Moon crescent, it was trying hard to hide from me as well, took me 2 hours to find it,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol livingsword, Pac Man, also good advice of what not to say, crack me up.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Mike, go figure about the size, it really did look bigger for a bit, amazing how our minds can be tricked.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks zsygab, glad you like.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot genie, I was actually lucky, the clouds opened for just the right amount of time, had rain later in the day.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey cj harley, thanks, hope to get a few more celestial gatherings the next few days.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks burningwindmill.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for dropping by planckspost, yep gotta love that Moon illusion.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, glad you like the shots, no teaching for me, the explaining probably comes from the supervising of employees, try to make things as understandable as possible.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks lidian, and thanks for stopping by.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

I like it when you go all technical: honking big brown Moon.

What's wrong with me though, I don't see a crescent moon in those last shots. :(

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, hey Ruth they are behind clouds, I am going to change them right now to something a little more east to see.\m/\m/

Drowsey Monkey said...

A squashy honking big brow moon! LOVE IT! LOL

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks drowsey, just seemed to be the right words to describe it, me being the wordsmith I am and all.\m/\m/

Swubird said...


Fantastic! So we can see the dark side of the moon. We just have to wait for the right conditions. Super.

Great shots Bob. Your are definitely the moon man.

Happy stargazing

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, not the actual dark side, the night side, just the regular side with no sunlight on it, confusing, yes, but we still never get to see the far side of the Moon, too bad.\m/\m/

daffyouknow said...


Anonymous said...

squashy honking big brown Moon
New astronomical term? :-) I agree with Livingsword, what not to say when she asks “how does this look on me?” LOL
Beautiful shots Bob. I know it takes patience to get these. With that said I don't know if you're looking forward to those -30 crystal clear nights or not.
Take care my friend.

Peter said...

Hi! Sounds like the moon and I have a lot in common. Both of us have flat squashy bottoms. Now would my behind look any better wearing those 3D glasses? I think not!

Take Care,

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks daffyouknow!!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol JD, it does take time and the will to stand out in all weather conditions, eg. it was so windy I had to hold my tripod for fear it would get blown over,lol, but geez, what an experience to see some of this stuff live.\m/\m/

ps, I'm dreading the -30c big time.

Bob Johnson said...

lol, you never know Peter.\m/\m/

Layne | Crete Delights said...

I'm still unsure what earthshine is, but I love your photos of it! :-)

Your life sounds like it's a real adventure of discovery, and a lot of fun... and you appear to keep hours as peculiar as my own! ;-)

Bob Johnson said...

Lol,Layne, that I do, so much so I forget what day it is when I wake up, if I get to sleep at all.

Light from the Sun that hits the Moon directly then bounces to Earth we call Moonlight, that's how come we see the Moon very bright, especially during a Full Moon.

Light from the Sun that bounces off the Earth first, then to the Moon then bounces back to us on Earth we call Earthshine, notice that the Sunlight in this instance has bounced off both the Earth and then the Moon then finally back to us on Earth, the more bounces, the more light we loose, that's why we still see the Moon, but not as bright, so that's where the beauty is, a combination of Moonlight, the bright portion on my images, and then we see the Earthshine, the darker portion , the large portion in this case, cool combination.

I don't know if this has helped at all, sometimes it is just enough to look at something and take in the beauty, not worry about the why,lol.\m/\m/

Will said...

That is one of the most unique shots of the moon I have ever seen! Odd shape and odd color both.

I work outside all day so I will look for the daytime moon. I will only have my cellphone though, so a photo may not work.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Will, thanks, that would be super if you could get a pic, good luck.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Oh! Yay! Thank you, I see it now!! :D

Bob Johnson said...

Woo Hoo, one of my easier ones to spot, think it was hard to find it in the image, try finding it through the clouds in the big frigging sky,lol.\m/\m/

Izabela said...

I think the first shot is simply amazing! It's great to see a Canadian blogging about science, especially since we have such great science programs and intro to science programs at colleges right across Canada. I know out east Centennial College (in Toronto) offers such courses. Where did you study?

virtual voyage said...

Thanks for the explantion of the moon illusion.... I'd often wondered!

FRIGGA said...

Interesting post. I knew that stuff but had forgotten over the years. Then I got all excited about a contest - I have daytime moon shots already, a couple I think are pretty darn good.

But what would I do with 50 pairs of Hanna Montana anything? :0

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Izabela, I studied telecommunications in Calgary at SAIT, have been interested in astronomy all my life though.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks VV, glad it helped.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol hey Frigga second place is a DVD of the movie "In The Shadow of Moon" you would love it.\m/\m/

Sherer said...

Mr. Johnson,

Excellent pictures as usual - That moon shot is incredible looks great!

And I have been practicing my daytime shots on the wanning cresent! \m/


Bob Johnson said...

Thanks and that's great Jesse I'm sure you'll get an awesome shot.\m/\m/

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