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Astronomical question and answer 282

 

Frank L. Preuss

 

Why doesn’t it get night at a solar eclipse?

 

When I hold my hand before my eyes to protect me from sun light, then I also bring about a solar eclipse. When the moon now prevents the sun light from reaching us, then that is a real solar eclipse. One difference is that my hand is within the atmosphere, but the moon is outside the atmosphere.

Since the moon is now outside the atmosphere, how does it come that it now doesn't get completely night on earth?

When the sun is below and far away from the horizon, then it is also completely dark with us. Then the earth is between us and the sun. Then the sun also shines on the atmosphere, but this part of the atmosphere is so far away that the sun shine there does not illuminate our night here.

But when now the moon is before the sun, then indeed no sun shine arrives with us at all, and still it is not night.

The reasons being, that the solar eclipse only concerns a very small part of the surface of the earth. The cone shadow has perhaps a diameter of 200 km and that is very little with respect to the whole half surface of the earth.

And thus also only a very small part of the atmosphere around us is not illuminated by sun light.

If we would have no atmosphere, how would it then look like?

The moon has no atmosphere. When a heavenly body there casts a shadow, is it then there completely dark? When there, on the moon, an object brought to it by men casts a shadow, let us say an astronaut, can this man then see his own foot prints on the ground of the moon in his own shadow?

 

 

This is the end of "Astronomical question and answer 282"
To the German version of this chapter: Astronomische Frage und Antwort 282

 

 

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