Earth’s shadow

Earth’s shadow (in dark blue) climbs above the Raquette River in Potsdam, New York, shortly after sunset.

Image via Alice McClure.

The Earth’s shadow extends about 860,000 miles into outer space. That distance is the equivalent of about 109 Earth diameters or one sun diameter, or better than three times the moon’s distance from Earth.

A viewer wrote:

It’s hard to understand this as a shadow. Is it comparable to a shadow as we usually think of it? I guess it seems funny that it is projected onto…

EarthSky’s Bruce McClure replied:

Yes, comparable to a shadow as we usually think of, though on a much larger scale. During the nighttime, we’re actually sitting in the Earth’s own shadow. Given clear skies, you can watch the Earth’s shadow rising upward in the east as the sun falls farther beneath the horizon in the west. Or if you’re up before sunrise, you can watch the Earth’s shadow sinking in the west as the sun climbs upward toward the eastern horizon.

Learn more about Earth’s shadow

Bottom line: Alice McClure captured this image of Earth’s shadow on November 8, 2015.

Eleanor Imster