How to See the Shadow of the Earth Tonight After Sunset

You saw the parade and dog show . You cooked, cleaned and dined. You managed to avoid football (or at least turn it off). Now what? Why not go outside and look at the shadow of the Earth? Today and tomorrow it will be easier to spot than usual. Here’s how to find it in the evening sky.

How big is the shadow of the Earth?

Of course, humans and marmots have shadows, but on the entire planet? Yeah. And unsurprisingly, it’s quite large – according to , it stretches hundreds of thousands of miles into space. (It can reach the moon, which happens during a lunar eclipse.) It is so massive that you may have to turn your head to see the whole thing. And since the Earth is round, its shadow is curved .

How to see the shadow of the Earth

Technically, you can see the Earth’s shadow on any clear night, but it will be especially noticeable today and tomorrow thanks to the bright waxing moon (that is, if you have a clear sky). Here are specific viewing instructions, courtesy of :

When the sun sets, the moon will be high in the east. An unobstructed horizon and clear sky will increase your chances of seeing the deep blue of the earth’s shadow, topped by the pinkish belt of Venus under the moon. You will be looking in the opposite direction of sunset about 30-60 minutes after sunset. If you look too early, your sky will be too bright, but if you look too late, your sky will be too dark.

And this is not all that the night sky has in store for us: in a few days there will be not only a full moon, but also a small eclipse. As usual, we’ll let you know how to spot it.


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