November 1, 2004
Does this look familiar? Red and orange hues haunting the face of the Moon might remind you of the October 27th total lunar eclipse, but the picture is actually a montage of images from a similar lunar spectacle in May of 2003. Created from exposures taken at intervals of 8.5 minutes during the total eclipse phase, the midpoint of the eclipse corresponds to the central exposure. The play of light across the lunar surface nicely demonstrates that the Earth's shadow is not uniformly dark as it extends into space. In fact, lunar maria and montes are still visible in the dimmed, reddened sunlight scattered into the cone-shaped shadow region, or umbra, by the atmosphere. Still, while processing the pictures into this composite image, astronomer Sebastien Gauthier was reminded of another haunting orange face. Have a safe and happy Halloween!