School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Aa-1 Earthshine demonstration

Published: Tuesday 05 June 2007 - Updated: Thursday 31 March 2011


To demonstrate how reflected sunlight from a planet can be used to extract information about that planet.



Click on pictures to enlarge.

Earthshine setup pic


The purpose of this demonstration is to illustrate how we can learn about a planet (i.e. whether there is an atmosphere, water or life there) by examining the light spectrum from the planets reflected sunlight.

Astrophysicists check their model predictions by examining earthshine the light that has reflected from the earth to the moon and back to the earth.

In this demonstration a rotating model of the earth is illuminated via a slide projector and a camera displays the reflected light that reaches a ping pong ball suitably placed. The reflected light is seen to follow the light distribution reflected from the continents attached to the model globe.

Safety notes

Electrical Safety 


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