ah, didnt know cause it looked more like a mountain at first
I live in Phoenix and driving home from work last night the moon looked exactly like this rising above the horizon. It looked deep orange like this I thought maybe due to the Telegraph wild fire we have lingering. I’m actually impressed! It looked exactly like this!
It’s actually because the moon is behind the earth and the sunlight gets refracted by the earth’s atmosphere giving the moon a sunset red colour.
That’s not correct. The moon is lit by the sun directly, not through the earth’s atmosphere.
The moon reflects the direct (almost full spectrum) sunlight and this reflected light then gets refracted so it appears for us to be red. The moon itself is not illuminated red in this situation.
The only time the earth’s refraction of sunlight reaches the moon is on lunar eclipse where it sometimes appears red (blood moon).
But in the screenshot the moon is clearly illuminated from an angle suggesting we’re not looking at an eclipse.
Some of the wavelengths of light also get absorbed by the atmosphere, which’s why the suns colour changes as it gets closer to the horizon as the light has to pass through more atmosphere than if it were directly overhead.
Essentially, blue light is scattered by our atmosphere, leaving the redder end of the spectrum.
Was @EstrayOne comment incorrect? What you said is good but viewing the moon at sunrise and sunset will scatter out blue light when viewed through earth’s atmosphere so the view from earth’s surface will appear to give a red glow to the moon, that how I read the comment and as far as I can tell is correct.
Yep. The moon isn’t “behind the earth”. The only thing that matters is that from viewers perspective the moon is low over the horizon which allows only the red wavelengths of visible light to come through.
There is nothing giving the moon a red colour, it’s just that only the red light reaches the viewer in this position.
If you’d travel a quarter of earth’s circumference, towards the direction of the moon, it would appear in its usual gray way, high above you - nothing changed except for the viewer’s position and by that the angle the light from the moon traverses the atmosphere.
The Eye of Sauron
That’s fair enough, thanks for the great explaination once again!
That’s the description of what happens during a lunar eclipse and is correct in that particular scenario. It’s just not what’s happening here. @Coppersens is correct.
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