Encyclopedia of Lunar Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Brian Cudnik

Opposition Effect

  • Brian CudnikEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05546-6_188-1


The opposition effect (also known as opposition surge) is the brightening of a rough surface or an object made up of many particles when illuminated by a source located directly behind the observer.

Theory and Application: Physical Causes and Mechanisms

The opposition effect (Fig. 1) is often referred to by other names, e.g., the opposition surge, opposition spike, or Seeliger effect. It describes the phenomenon where an object or region noticeably brightens when that object or region reaches a phase angle of approximately zero. This effect has been known for over a century, being first observed in the reflected sunlight from Saturn’s rings at opposition (Seeliger 1895; Hapke et al. 1998). This phenomenon was first observed with the Moon by Gehrels et al. ( 1964) as the brightness of the lunar surface is almost 40% greater at the moment of Full Moon than 1 day before or after Full Moon (Hapke et al. 1998). The first laboratory experiments to observe the opposition effect in...
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and PhysicsPrairie View A&M UniversityPrairie ViewUSA