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The Dark Side of the Moon… in the Daytime

Have you ever looked up in the sky…


… And wondered why you can’t see the dark side of the moon in the daytime?

Dark Side of the Moon

I bet Andrew, Tom, Anthony, or Canspice can give me a reasonable explanation.

I understand the sun is on that side etc… but why can’t I at least see the round black dark side of the moon in the daytime?

7 Responses

  1. I think this question is similar to the question “Why isn’t the sky black at night?” Sunlight is scattered and mostly absorbed by the atmosphere except for the blue light resulting in the color of the sky. With so much light being scattered about in the sky, it takes something very bright in space for us to be able to see it (literally) in the light of day. Among such things would include the Sun itself, the bright side of the moon, and the occasional supernova. Since the dark side of the moon is, well, dark, there isn’t enough light to shine through the blue sky so we see the portion of the moon that is reflecting sunlight and see blue sky everywhere else.

    • Thanks Mike for further explanation.

      I guess I should have paid more attention when I was getting my free education with 5 days a week.

      • That should have read “Why isn’t the sky black in the daytime?” (That’s what happens when I decide to write a response at 1 am.)

        Nevertheless, thanks for posing (and posting) such an intriguing question.

    • Jupiter and Venus can also be seen in the daytime sky if conditions are right.

  2. The unlit side of the Moon is indeed pretty dark, as dark as the black sky around it. You are used to objects here on Earth where our atmosphere scatters the light and at least some light comes from all directions. Shadows here on Earth are not all that dark.

    On the Moon, shadows are usually inky black. Compared to the bright blue glow of scattered light in our atmosphere, the unlit side cannot be seen,

    Some light can shine of the “dark” side of the Moon and can be seen at night when the Moon is a thin crescent. At that time if you were standing on the Moon you would see a fully lit Earth in the sky. Earthshine can light up the Moon, but it is dim compared to the directly sun lit sections.

    Another way you could see the unlit section of the Moon is if it were in front of something light. This is also not usually the case. One exception would be an eclipse, when passing in front of the Sun the entire disk of the Moon is visible.

    • Thanks for the science lesson.

      With a $100 Radio Shack type of telescope, would someone be able to see dark side during the day?

      I assume that you folks at the observatories have Telescopes that can see it during the day don’t you?

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