Ask Ethan: How Bright Is The Earth As Seen From The Moon? (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

“I place up my thumb and shut a single eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt really, extremely tiny.” -Neil Armstrong

The complete Moon is undoubtedly vibrant. As viewed from the Earth’s surface, it is the second brightest object of all, soon after the Sun, and is more than 1,500 occasions brighter than Venus. In reality, the complete Moon is more than 40 instances brighter than the whole rest of the evening sky combined, and can outshine even a large city when seen appropriate subsequent to one.

The rising full Moon and the city of Chicago, as viewed over Lake Michigan from Northwestern University's campus. Image credit: colinbrownell of flickr.

The increasing complete Moon and the city of Chicago, as viewed over Lake Michigan from Northwestern University’s campus. Image credit: colinbrownell of flickr.

But the Earth has the Moon beat on the only two intrinsic properties that matter: size and reflectivity. The considerably bigger size of Earth indicates that a “full Earth” as noticed from the Moon has 13 times the surface area as the complete Moon as seen from Earth. But on leading of that, the Moon, as bright as it appears in the sky, is in fact a fairly dull grey in colour, much more similar to charcoal than it is to a snowy white. The Earth, on the other hand, has icecaps, clouds, and hugely reflective continents, particularly exactly where deserts are involved.

When a view of the Earth includes large amounts of cloud cover, the southern polar cap and large deserts over land, its high reflectivity can make it up to 55 times brighter than the full Moon. Image credit: NASA / Apollo 17.

When a view of the Earth includes big amounts of cloud cover, the southern polar cap and big deserts over land, its higher reflectivity can make it up to 55 times brighter than the complete Moon. Image credit: NASA / Apollo 17.

So how bright is the Earth as seen from the Moon by comparison, and what does this tell us about these worlds? Locate out on this edition of Ask Ethan!

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