The dark side of the moon is turquoise, say astronomers
2014 01 10
By Ian Sample | The Guardian
Measurements from a telescope in Hawaii show blue light reflected from Earth turns turquoise when it bounces off moon
I’ll see you on the turquoise side of the moon:
earthlight is shifted towards the red end of the spectrum when reflected from the moon’s dark side.
In a demonstration of the power of science to ruin a perfectly respectable work of art, researchers have discovered the colour of the dark side of the moon.
Measurements from a telescope in Hawaii mean that pedants may now argue that, technically speaking, if one wanted to be entirely accurate, the side of the moon referred to in Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon should really be described as "turquoise".
The revelation comes from two years of measurements by an international team of astronomers who installed a telescope and a sensitive camera at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, run by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The dark side of the moon is not the same as the far side, which gets as much sunlight as the side facing us. The dark side is not lit directly by sunlight, but by light reflected from Earth. It is much fainter, and best seen around the time of the new moon.
"This is sunshine that struck the Earth, was coloured by the Earth, was reflected up to the moon, struck the moon, and then came back to us," said Peter Thejll, a senior scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen and first author on the study.
Images of Earth from space show clearly that the planet looks blue. But when this blue light strikes the moon, the light that’s reflected back is turquoise.
"Astronauts standing on the moon and looking up at the Earth described it as a blue marble," said Thejll. "Having not been into space myself, I don’t know what they meant exactly, but once that blue light strikes the moon’s surface, it shifts to a blue-green colour. We can call it turquoise."
Read the full article at: theguardian.com
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