This composite image of the July 27, lunar eclipse, shot from Australia, reveals the Earth’s shadow in a whole new way. Credit: Tom Harradine
If you’ve ever stood in the path of totality of a solar eclipse, you’ve seen something amazing: the full width of the moon, the dark shadow blocking the sun, perfectly surrounded by the dim, wispy rays of the sun (the solar corona. And if you’ve also stood outside during a lunar eclipse, you might know that the effect is slightly less dramatic. As the Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, it quickly swallows the smaller job to the rock. The effect of the moon glowing bloody red the Earth is broken twilight is beautiful, but the effect does not fully convey the scale of the astronomical phenomenon at work in the same in-your-face way as that happens during a solar eclipse. The moon is much smaller than the Earth the shadow, never see it in its entirety on the surface.
The australian amateur astronomer Tom Harradine took an impressive cross in the solving of that problem with a composite image, posted to his personal Facebook page — originally covered by Gizmodo and shared with Live Science. By carefully arranging different photos taken during the July-27 lunar eclipse, the longest of the 21st Century, he revealed the full scale of the Earth’s shadow in space. The effect is remarkably precise; the round shadow that arises in Harradine image of 2.61 times the size of the moon in the image. That is where it is in real life.
Astute eclipse-followers might remember that the moon is actually not at all spiral of the Earth in the shadow of the way it is shown in this figure. Instead, this eclipse was so long in part because the moon passed through the centre of the Earth in the shade, for a long time in the darkness after entering one end and leaving at the other.
Harradine, the composite image is a bit of an illusion, the result of not only the assembling of images, but also carefully rotating to fit. Still, the effect works because, in the tuning of each of the rotated image in the order according to the visible curvature of the Earth in the shadow of the combined moons form a full Earth umbra (shadow). The visible shadow of a line in a traverse of the moon, but it is more than enough in the way of raw material to the making of Harradine beautiful, educational result.
Originally published on Live Science.