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Sun, Moon and Earth

31 31 30 lunar eclIPSeS studies in light and darkness A lunar eclipse is a striking phenomenon. The reflected light of the full moon greatly diminishes the light from the stars, and during the eclipse a curious and beautiful effect unfolds. As the full Moon enters the Earths shadow cone previous page lower, her face darkens and the night sky radically alters its appearance, becoming brilliantly peppered with many more stars than were previously visible. This effect is also shown opposite, where a satisfying diagonal symmetry may also be seen. During the period of totality, the Moon often takes on a remarkably beautiful coppery colour within the starry firmament. Also stirring is the curve of the Earths shadow as it draws across the lunar orb. It confirms that our planet is spherical in shape and about three times larger than the Moon. Before 2500 BC, Megalithic astronomers in northwestern Europe appear to have observed a tiny variation in the 5.14o tilt of the Moons orbit o with period 173.3 days in order to predict eclipses. Their observatories still exist, throughout western Britain. Were our Stone Age ancestors predicting eclipses 1 6
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