Bluish Terminator and Lunar Eclipse

March 31, 2008

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Provided by: Dan Bartlett, Amateur Photographer
Summary authors & editors: Dan Bartlett, Jim Foster

The photo above shows a close-up view of the Moon's surface during the lunar eclipse of February 20, 2008. It's interesting that no two lunar eclipses appear exactly the same. Note the bluish tinted terminator just left of the fully illuminated portion of the Moon. At the time this picture was taken, the Earth's umbra, the deepest portion of the shadow, was covering most of the lunar disk giving it a coppery color. The coloration of the Moon's surface during a total eclipse is due to refraction by the Earth's atmosphere of the reddened light from our sunsets and sunrises. If the atmosphere is relatively clear and dust is minimal, the lunar disk will look brighter and more colorful. Photo taken from Rockton, Illinois at 9:53 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Photo details: Panasonic DMC-FZ7 camera, 0.5 sec exposure, f/3.3 aperture, 72 mm focal length, ISO 100 speed, 0/100 EV exposure bias.