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Can there be shadows in space?


It's all black, right? Shadows can't be in space.

1593 day(s) ago

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Larry
Yes, shadows exist in outer space. Shadows can exist anywhere there is a light source and an object with mass. In fact, some of the most spectacular shadows occur in outer space. Eclipses of the sun and moon are due to shadows. When the Earth passes directly through the space between the sun and the moon, it casts a shadow on the moon, which makes it dark for several hours. This is a lunar eclipse. When the moon passes directly between the Earth and the path of the sun, it blocks the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth and causing a solar eclipse.

Not all shadows in space are spectacular, though. Most are very unassuming, just they are on Earth. Strictly speaking, a shadow is just light being blocked by a physical object. That physical object can be as small as a single molecule or as large an entire planet. What makes shadows in space less noticeable is that they don’t always have another object to be cast upon. Here on Earth, our shadow always shows up on the ground, walls, trees, or other surfaces. In space, there is not always a surface behind the object, so the shadow just exists in space until it reaches out so far that it doesn’t really have any effect.

Your question may be prompted by another phenomenon that is common on Earth but does not exist in space – sound. Sound requires a medium to travel through. It cannot exist in the emptiness of space. On Earth, sound moves through air, water, and even solid objects. In space, there is only quiet.




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