‘Planetshine’ On The Moon Will Be Visible In The Sky Tonight

'Planetshine' On The Moon Will Be Visible In The Sky Tonight

Moon-gazers best assemble their squads, because tonight, if you look up into the sky, you’ll be able to see ‘planetshine’.

Also identified as ‘Earthshine’ and ‘the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms’, the cosmic phenomenon takes place numerous times throughout the year – though, the phase between April and June is prime-time to witness the glow of ‘the dark side of the moon’.

Tonight, April 26, the Moon is set to be 12% illuminated i.e. the sliver of light – creating the effect of a slightly glowing crescent moon – will be slightly difficult to see. However, it is still worth a sight to check out – but what precisely is planetshine?

Throughout the course of a lunar month (29 days), we watch as the Moon converts from crescent, to full, to New, which is the instant it becomes near-lost in the Sun’s light and is hardly visible to us.

What’s so unlikely about this time of year then, if the Moon does this all the time? Well, between the time period of April and June in the northern hemisphere, Earth’s albedo (sunlight reflected off the Earth from the Sun) is mostly intense.

Basically, Earthshine occurs when sunlight reflects off Earth onto the dark portion of the Moon, generating a lit-up waxing crescent on the left-hand side. Keen lunar-heads have been looking up into the sky over the weekend – don’t worry, if you didn’t know of this phenomenon occuring, there’s still a chance to see it tonight.

Further to that, if you’re engaging cloudy skies later, planetshine will also be visible 12 nights after the Super Flower Moon happening on May 7. It’s a pretty good time to be a sky-gazer.

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