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When I look up in the sky, I can obviously see the day side of the moon clear as, well, day, cloud cover permitting, but a thought occurred to me:

While I believe I can (barely) see the night side of the Moon as well, I can't tell if it's my eyes playing tricks with me and my mind "filling in" the space to make the moon round, or if enough light is actually falling on the Moon to illuminate it to such a degree that I can see it.

If a specific situation is required, say a crescent moon in December/January in Northern Europe at six in the evening, watching with the naked eye and no particular low-light impairment.

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closed as off-topic by Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Nathan Tuggy, duzzy, TildalWave, Fred Feb 11 '16 at 4:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is about other space sciences (physics, weather, astronomy, etc), and does not directly pertain to space exploration as outlined in the help center." – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Nathan Tuggy, duzzy, TildalWave, Fred
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ You can do a simple experiment to verify this: find a long tube (some plastic piping, even a toilet roll will do in a pinch) with which you can block the light from the illuminated side of the moon. That means your eye can accommodate to the lower light level, and you don't have your mind filling in a circle. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Feb 10 '16 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ The Earth reflects a lot of light, so it should be possible - as when we see the night side of the Moon, it means Earth is facing it with the day side, at least partially. $\endgroup$ – jkavalik Feb 10 '16 at 20:31
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Yes, you can often see the non-directly lit part of the moon; it's mostly lit by light reflected from Earth. A google image search for earthshine moon shows many photos of the phenomenon (most of which are "real" pictures).

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Yes, if you are reasonably close to either sunset or sunrise. The 'dark' part of the moon can be seen due to earthshine, the light of the sun reflected from the earth to the moon. It makes the part of the moon that is in lunar night faintly visible if you are in an area without heavy light pollution. (Earthshine also hits the part of the moon that is in sunlight, you just can't see it.)

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