Ever wonder what Earth’s shadow looks like in space?
While sky watchers in Europe and Asia are getting ready for the August 11 solar eclipse — the third partial solar eclipse to happen this year, as the Inquisitr recently reported — the memory of the stunning lunar eclipse that unfolded in late July still lingers.
Also referred to as the “Blood Moon” due to its deep red and dark orange shade — which bathes the moon each time our natural satellite passes through Earth’s innermost shadow during a total lunar eclipse — this was the longest total lunar eclipse of the entire century and lasted for a total of 103 minutes, per a previous Inquisitr report.
Although the “Blood Moon” snubbed North America, media coverage of the astronomical display on June 27 softened the bitterness of U.S. stargazers after being excluded from one of the most remarkable celestial shows of the year.
And, while many have photographed the “Blood Moon” from different locations where the enthralling phenomenon was visible, one particular image stands out from the crowd, unveiling the lunar eclipse in a completely original view.
According to Live Science, the spectacular photo reveals the moon’s eclipse like it’s never been seen before, moving the focus toward Earth’s shadow — depicted in a spiral of sunsets and sunrises.
Created by Australian amateur astronomer Tom Harradine, the photo is a composite image of several moon snapshots that he took during July’s total lunar eclipse, rearranged to showcase our planet’s umbra, or the deep shadow cast by the Earth.
The mesmerizing photo, which Harradine shared on Facebook on June 30, is an accurate depiction of what the Earth’s shadow actually looks like in space, in terms of “size, color, and darkness.”
His secret? Carefully rotating and arranging each photo of the lunar eclipse to reveal the outline of Earth’s umbra, which is actually 2.61 times the size of the moon.
“The red color is due to sunlight from all simultaneous sunrises and sunsets shining through the silhouetted Earth’s sky — satiating Selene [the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology] with a sanguinary shade,” Harradine wrote in his Facebook post.
The story was first picked up by the Australian Gizmodo website, which later featured it on its U.S. web page as well.
As Live Science explains, Harradine’s creative experiment allows us to witness the full scale of Earth’s umbra, which is normally only partly reflected on the much smaller surface of the moon.
“A lunar eclipse is a big planet casting a big shadow on a small moon,” astronomer Kaisa Young of Nicholls State University in Louisiana told Live Science on a separate occasion.
By aligning each photo of the eclipsing moon in just the right order, so as to sequence the visible curvature of Earth’s umbra, Harradine was able to get the full picture of our planet’s deep shadow, as revealed by all the combined moons.
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