Hey girls! Now that it’s been getting a little warmer outside, I’ve been able to do one of my favorite things: stargazing! It’s so incredible to watch the stars and the moon light up the night sky. But did you know that recently a college grad student was able to see even more when she looked into the sky? She saw the Earth…its reflection in the moon, that is!
This is a huge deal in science. Sally Langford became the first person in history to see the continents and oceans of the Earth by watching their reflections in the Moon. If you stargaze a lot like I do, you know that even during a crescent moon, when part of the moon appears to be missing, there is a faint glow that seems to round it out into a circle. That glow is actually called earthshine. It’s like moonshine or star shine, but earthshine comes from the light off of Earth when it’s daytime that shines on the dark side of the moon.
Why is this such a big deal? This is a big step forward in helping scientists learn if there is life on other planets in the universe. It would be impossible to see what a planet looked like from far away, but if we know that it has water and oceans, there might be the possibility for life.
What makes Sally Langford even cooler is that she made her achievement using pretty cheap equipment: only a backyard telescope, a digital camera and a great idea! This just goes to show that you don’t always have to be a professional to discover something amazing. Use whatever materials you have and follow your ideas. You never know what you’ll discover!