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Earth's Shadow 2003/11/08

Earth's shadow is revealed as the Moon passes through its lower edge during the total lunar eclipse of November 8, 2003. This photo is a composite of 5 images taken 40 minutes apart centered on 8:18 p.m. EST. The center image, taken with the Moon fully in shadow, shows the color of the Earth's shadow. The shadow isn't totally dark because the Earth's atmosphere acts as a lens and bends light into it. The light is tinted red as it grazes the Earth's atmosphere, just as in sunsets. The center exposure was 100 times longer than the others to show the Moon in the shadow. It also registered four faint stars.

All images of the Moon are positioned properly relative to Earth's shadow. Both the Moon and the shadow were moving to the left relative to the background stars, with the Moon moving about 12 times faster than the shadow. (Composite images that track the stars during eclipses don't compensate for the motion of the shadow and make the shadow look slightly larger than it actually is.) North is up.

Astro-Physics 155mm (6 inch) refractor at f7.1. Fuji Provia 400 color slide film. Each image of the Moon in the composite is a stack of two exposures, ranging from 1/30th to 3 seconds. Photographed from northern New Jersey. 2004

If you are having trouble seeing Earth's shadow, its edge (actually, the edge of the Umbra) is marked in the image below.

Earth's Shadow Marked 2003/11/08

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