Dust, smoke and pollution particles diffuse moonlight through the atmosphere to make it appear orange, red or yellow as the heavenly object rises or sets above the horizon. The atmosphere is thicker when viewing objects along the horizon rather than overhead, which also makes objects appear redder and larger. NASA calls this a moon illusion because the moon never actually changes color.Know More
When sunlight deflects off the moon and hits the Earth, particles in the atmosphere scatter light on the blue end of the rainbow spectrum. Redder light passes through the atmosphere, giving the moon an orange or reddish appearance close to the horizon. As the full moon is high above close to midnight, it seems to be white and smaller. When seen from outer space, the moon doesn't change color due to atmospheric conditions.
Another theory as to why the moon seems orange is because of light's convergence at the back of the human eye. Trees and houses in front of a rising or setting moon give the object an appearance of being larger. The concept is known as a Ponzo illusion in which train tracks seem to come to a point far in the distance. Another illusion to human perception is that the sky appears flat, when in reality, it is spherical.Learn more about Our Moon
Scientifically speaking, there are three meanings for a red moon: that there is a lunar eclipse, that the moon is near the horizon and the light is passing through a larger amount of atmosphere or that particles in the air (from events like a forest fire or a volcanic eruption) are partially obscuring the light. Any of these conditions cause the light from the moon to be partially scattered, eliminating the blue and green parts of the visible light spectrum so that only red light filters through.Full Answer >
While the common wisdom that the moon lacks an atmosphere has been part of general knowledge for years, a NASA document released in January 2014 indicates that the moon does have an atmosphere with gases like potassium and sodium which do not appear in the atmosphere of Venus, Mars or Earth. The atmosphere on the moon has much less gas in it; on Earth, the sea-level atmosphere has 10 quintillion molecules per cubic centimeter, while that same cubic centimeter only has 1 million molecules on the moon. So while the lunar atmosphere is quite thin, it nevertheless exists.Full Answer >
According to NASA, the moon does have an atmosphere. Although the moon’s atmosphere is minimal in comparison to Earth’s – less than 1 million molecules in 1 cubic centimeter of moon air versus 10 quintillion molecules in 1 cubic centimeter of Earth air – it's still measurable.Full Answer >
The moon appears to change colors sometimes due to the scattering of light through the atmosphere. Moonlight has to pass through more atmosphere when it is on the horizon than when it is higher in the sky. By the time the moonlight is visible, all of the fragments of light on the blue end of the color spectrum have been scattered away by the air molecules, leaving only red, yellow and orange pieces of light.Full Answer >