Abstract

Irradiance during total lunar eclipses is simulated using a pinhole model. The Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight that is refracted into the Earth’s shadow as it passes through the atmosphere at the terminator but is depleted by scattering by molecules, extinction by aerosol particles, absorption by ozone, and obstruction by clouds and elevated land. On a spherical, sea-level Earth, and a cloudless, molecular atmosphere with no ozone, the eclipsed Moon appears red and calculated irradiance at the center of the umbra is reduced by a factor of about 2400 from direct moonlight. Selective absorption mainly of light around 600nm by stratospheric ozone turns the periphery of the umbra pale blue. Typical distributions of aerosol particles, ozone, mountains, and clouds around the terminator reduce irradiance by an additional factor of the order of 100.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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