You might want to keep your eyes on the sky this week, as an interesting sight might be visible if you look at the moon at the right time.
This is called a “Da Vinci Glow” or “Earthshine”, an event where a crescent moon is accentuated with the faintly visible lunar surface also visible to the naked eye.
Several factors must align for such a spectacle to be seen, and the phenomenon puzzled some for thousands of years – until Leonardo da Vinci solved the “astronomical riddle” some 500 years ago. , according to NASA.
“For thousands of years humans have marveled at the beauty of this ‘ashen glow,’ or ‘the old moon in the arms of the new moon,'” NASA reported. it was? No one knew until the 16th century, when Leonardo figured it out.”
Here’s what you need to know:
What is Da Vinci Glow or Earthshine?
It turns out that the so-called “Da Vinci Glow” or “Earthshine” is actually “light from the earth reflected from the night side of the Moon”.
“When the sun sets on the moon, it’s dark, but not completely,” NASA reports. “There is always a source of light in the sky: the Earth. Our own planet lights up the lunar night 50 times brighter than a full moon, producing the Cinder Glow.
Adler Planetarium astronomer Geza Gyuk said it’s this light from Earth that makes the rest of the moon somewhat visible, even when it’s not receiving sunlight.
“Earth light – like moonlight here on Earth – is quite strong. It is strong enough that we can sometimes see the dark part of the moon that does not receive direct sunlight,” Gyuk said. to NBC Chicago via email.
When the earth illuminates the dark part of the moon, skywatchers can see a bright crescent moon, with the shape of the full moon still dimly visible around it.
“When the conditions are right, a crescent moon is seen which is directly illuminated by the sun and, ‘cradled within’, the rest of the moon illuminated by Earthshine. Earthshine is the light that hit the Earth, bounced and then hit the moon,” Gyuk said.
It got its name when Da Vinci managed to figure out what caused the phenomenon.
“(Da Vinci) thought it was probably reflections off the oceans. It turns out that most of the light reflected from Earth comes from the clouds and not the oceans, but the basic idea that Earthshine on the moon is reflected light is still correct,” Gyuk said.
It also has names like “ashlight” or “the old moon in the arms of the new moon”.
What must happen for you to see it?
According to Live Science, “It is only possible to see Da Vinci glowing when a thin crescent moon is visible near the horizon during the last days and first days of the moon’s Earth orbit,” which happens this weekend and into next week.
When can you see it?
The best times to see the Da Vinci Glow are in the days before and after new moons, according to Timeanddate.com. A new moon is predicted for May 19.
The Almanac reports that the best times of day to watch are in the evening after sunset or just before dawn.
According to Live Science, the following dates will be the best days to watch within an hour of sunset:
- Sunday May 21
- Monday May 22
- tuesday 23 may