Would a lunar eclipse seen from low (or even high) Earth orbit look different to the naked eye than it does from the surface of the Earth?

The only image I could find taken from orbit was the photo by Alexander Gerst from the ISS. "The slight hue of blue is actually the Earth's atmosphere, just before the Moon is diving into it."

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Surprisingly, Gerst's photos of this eclipse are the only human-made ones listed in the current answer to Has the Earth's shadow on the Moon (lunar eclipse) ever been photographed from Space? Since the ISS' orbit is about 92 minutes, the Moon would have appeared much farther from the Earth's atmosphere only a few minutes earlier or later (depending on which terminator was being viewed). See twitter.com/astro_alex/status/1022967337698377728?lang=en and flickr.com/photos/astro_alex/42783786405/in/photostream $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ To me lunar eclipses can be "Just magical" seen from Earth as well, so I'm not sure if his tweet counts as a difference though. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ Link add-Newsweek article about Alexander Gerst's photo of the moon. $\endgroup$
    – Bob516
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnHoltz Thanks for the catch, updated it. $\endgroup$
    – Bob516
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ It will be "half" reddened as for atmospheric scattering happens only once (the seen light, or that reaching the camera, has made only one pass through earth atmosphere). $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


It wouldn't look much different. The atmosphere absorbs some light and "seeing" reduces the effective resolution, but these have little effect on the visual impact of a lunar eclipse.

From a sufficiently high orbit, you might be able to see the terminator between the partially lit "red" side of the moon and the (nearly) completely dark side on the far side from the Earth (and the sun).

A lunar eclipse looks pretty cool from the Earth, and it would look equally cool from space.


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