After determining the

circumference of the Earth, the Greeks utilized their observations of lunar eclipses to determine the size of the Moon. Lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly aligned and the Earth blocks the rays of the Sun from striking the Moon. To help visualize this event, watch this

video showing the lunar eclipse of November 8th, 2003, taken in Grimbergen, Belgium. During totality, the red illumination of the Moon is due to the refraction of long wavelengths of red light by the Earth's atmosphere. If the Earth were to have no atmosphere, then the Moon would have been totally black.

Originally the Greeks compared the time it took the Moon to enter into the shadow of the Earth to the time it took it to leave the shadow. Later it was done by examining a sketch of the Moon as the shadow of the Earth partially covered It. By examining the curvature of the shadow we can find the ratio of the size of the Moon compared to the Earth. The ratio can be found by locating the center of the Earth’s shadow.