Rare ‘Earthshine’ phenomenon to cast ghostly glow over moon this week

Stargazers are in for a treat this week as a rare lunar phenomenon takes centre stage in the sky.

Those who look up to the sky this Friday and Saturday will be able to spot a slim crescent moon, meaning Earthshine will be possible to spot with the human eye.

The beautiful phenomenon happens when sunlight is reflected off Earth, and onto the face of the moon.

It’s also sometimes called ashen glow, the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms, or the Da Vinci glow.

This can only be seen with the naked eye when the Moon is in its slimmest stages, when Earthshine can be seen lighting up the unlit part of the moon.

This does not mean the “dark side of the moon”, which is always facing away from Earth – instead the unlit part faces Earth.

Those who have witnessed Earthshine before may have been able to make out the rest of the moon’s shape very faintly, in a ghostly glow.

How to see Earthshine

Earthshine is always best seen a few days before and after a new moon.

New moons signal the end and start of a fresh lunar cycle, which has eight phases.

The best time to see this week’s Earthshine is just after sunset or right before sunrise on Friday or Saturday, according to The Sun.

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You’ll only be able to spot this when a very slim crescent moon appears at twilight.

Unfortunately, if the sky is too dark you won’t be able to see it.

The next time you’ll have a chance to see Earthshine is around February 8, when there will be a new, very slim crescent moon.

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