[Tweeters] Earthshine!

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Feb 25 20:50:10 PST 2017

Just yesterday I made a discovery that I just know is gonna make me feel better for the rest of my days: Earthshine!

Oh sure, you got your sunshine, you got your moonshine - but hey, get a load of that earthshine! What in the woohoo is earthshine you may be wondering? This morning I was talking on the telephone to my sister Margie, down in Puncture Junction New Mexico, and ran the question by her: "Do you know what earthshine is?" My sister is pretty savvy about nature sorts of things, but didn't know nothing about earthshine. That made me feel better - like I wasn't the last person on earth to find out about earthshine.

I don't really remember my early moon watching days, but imagine I did reach out to touch the moon back in my baby goo goo days. "Goon!" I might have said. At times I'm a bit slow on the uptake - like, after 61 years of moon watching , I just found out about earthshine.

After a trip down to Puncture Junction NM, I was enamored by the planet Venus , which I saw as never before, in the New Mexican sky, and pulled out possibly the least opened book on my shelves: Petersons Field Guide to the Stars and Planets. I wanted to find out more about ol' Venus and stumbled on a photo on page 245 of earthshine.

It's kind of funny, but I had been wondering about this as I was thinking about planets, which like moons, don't emit light, they just reflect sunlight, which is pretty cool really. And that got me wondering about what the Earth reflects: answer on page 245 of my Peterson guide - Earthshine.

Earthshine has been one of my favorite sights for decades, but I didn't know what I was seeing. Ever notice, looking at a crescent moon, that the dark part of the moon is gently lit, giving the moon a more 3-D look? That's earthshine - the reflection of the sunlit Earth on the Moon. Is it just me, or is that just totally amazing!

Jeff Gibson

Accidental Astronomer

Port Townsend Wa

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