Over the past few weeks, planet Earth has seen some pretty crazy lunar activity—specifically, blood moons caused by full lunar eclipses. These eclipses occur when the Earth’s orbit passes directly between the Sun and the moon. As Earth travels between the two, it casts a shadow onto the moon. Blood moons occur whenever a lunar eclipse bathes the moon in a deep red color.
The event is a pretty amazing sight from our tiny little vantage points on Earth. But what would a lunar eclipse look like from the moon's surface? And what about that strange phenomenon we call a blood moon?
Mark Devlin, the Reese W. Flower Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, took the time to humor my questions. While his research focuses primarily on experimental cosmology and the evolution of the universe, much of his studies involve the orbits of Earth and the moon.
According to Devlin, a full lunar eclipse is when “the Earth would be covering the disk of the Sun. However, the reason they call it a blood moon is because the (sunlight) still makes it through the Earth’s atmosphere. It then looks red, just like a sunset.”
From the moon, you would see a ring of red around the sphere of the Earth, and the moon rock beneath your feet would be tinged red. As you looked into the open universe, the dark face of the Earth would be pointed toward you. Since it would face away from the Sun, the Earth would appear to be completely dark, except for the tiny specks of city lights.