Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

While watching a total lunar eclipse, I still can faintly discern the Moon's disk, even during the umbral portion of the eclipse. How is this possible, given that no significant source of light reflects from the Moon at that time?

Justin Farr, Dallas, Texas
lunar-eclipse
The most noticeable feature of any total lunar eclipse is its color, which is due to conditions on Earth. As the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow, less and less sunlight falls on its surface, and it darkens. But during the eclipse’s total phase, the Moon seldom disappears; rather, it takes on one of a variety of hues.

Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full answer for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...