MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Do you really see the earth rising on the moon?

Date: Sun Jan 23 19:43:08 2000
Posted By: Ricky J. Sethi, PhD
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 946988129.As

Hi Wang,

That is a very good observation on your part. It's true that the Moon always shows the same face to the Earth so if you were in a fixed position on the moon, you would essentially see the same image of the Earth with no rising or setting. However, the situation they were probably referring to in that television program was one of a spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. As the spacecraft, in orbit around the Moon (as in the Apollo missions, see links below), comes out from the so-called dark side of the Moon, it would encounter the incredible beauty of a earthrise. Just like when astronauts orbiting the Earth see a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes or so, the astronauts orbiting the Moon would see the earth rise and set. Just about every astronaut that sees this image for the first time (and quite a few of us earthbound inhabitants, too) are struck by the incredible beauty of this majestic sight. So it's only natural that there be many a monument to this, on- and off-line. I did a quick search on the web and am including some links to pictures (and more) of this awesome phenomenon below. I hope the explanation helped your understanding and that the images and narratives below will help your appreciation of this magnificient phenomenon.

Best regards,


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