In the quest to discover life beyond Earth, scientists are harnessing a very large and proximate tool—the moon.

During a total lunar eclipse in January 2019, the moon acted like a giant mirror, reflecting sunlight that had passed through our atmosphere back toward Earth, reports Chelsea Gohd for The Hubble Space Telescope, which was positioned between the Earth and moon, intercepted the reflected ultraviolet light for scientists to analyze.

Scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency studied the reflected light from a lunar eclipse during a two-day window. They reported their findings in an article published August 6 in The Astronomical Journal.

For the first time, scientists used a space telescope to capture ultraviolet wavelengths. Though similar ground-based studies have been done before, using a space telescope for this observation allows scientists to simulate future observations of exoplanets, reports.

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