Earthlight (astronomy)

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Left side predominately lit by the Earth and starlight, other side by the Sun.

Earthlight is the partial illumination of the dark portion of the moon's surface by light reflected from the Earth and from the Earth's airglow. It is also known as Earthshine (see also Planetshine), the Moon's ashen glow, or the old Moon in the new Moon's arms.

This phenomenon is best observed from just after new moon, when the moon is a thin crescent. On these nights it is easy to see the entire disk of the moon. The word is rare[citation needed] but is recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary.

It would also be a suitable term for an observer on the moon seeing the Earth during the lunar night, or from an astronaut of the window inside a spacecraft. Arthur C. Clarke uses it in this sense in his novel Earthlight.

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Media related to Earthshine at Wikimedia Commons