Visual Albedo of the Moon and the Earth

Visual albedo is the measure of the reflection of solar radiation out of the total solar radiation received by an astronomical body, taking into account only the visible light. The visual albedo of the Earth is 0.37, and the Moon’s is 0.12.

The Moon appears darker if the Earth also appears in the same photograph. Flat Earthers use the fact to “prove” that the picture is fake. They are wrong. The Moon appears darker because it reflects less sunlight than the Earth.

Because the visual albedo of the Moon is less than that of the Earth, then if both the Earth and the Moon appear in the same picture, the Moon will appear far darker than the Earth, provided that the photo was taken in a single shot, not a composite of two different exposures.

We can raise the exposure by two stops, and the Moon will appear brighter, just like the picture of the Moon we used to see. However, the Earth will appear too bright, or overexposed, and will show less detail.

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