Ice Halos by Moonlight

Sun, 15 May 2022 00:00:00 GMT
Astronomy Picture of the Day

Ice Halos by Moonlight

Explanation: What color is the Moon? It depends on the night.

Outside of the Earth's atmosphere, the dark Moon, which shines by reflected sunlight, appears a magnificently brown-tinged gray.

Viewed from inside the Earth's atmosphere the moon can appear quite different.

The featured image highlights a collection of apparent colors of the full moon documented by one astrophotographer over 10 years from different locations across Italy.

A red or yellow colored moon usually indicates a moon seen near the horizon.

There, some of the blue light has been scattered away by a long path through the Earth's atmosphere, sometimes laden with fine dust.

A blue-colored moon is more rare and can indicate a moon seen through an atmosphere carrying larger dust particles.

What created the purple moon is unclear - it may be a combination of several effects.

The last image captures the total lunar eclipse of 2018 July - where the moon, in Earth's shadow, appeared a faint red - due to light refracted through air around the Earth.

Today there is not only another full moon but a total lunar eclipse visible to observers in North and South America - an occurrence that may lead to some unexpected lunar colorings.

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