With a brilliant, red moon over the Carolinas tonight, I thought I'd take a few paragraphs to explain the reason behind the color change.
In this case, the moon was very low in the sky just before our 11:00 newscast. When the moon is low, the reflected sunlight we see has to travel through more atmosphere, which consists of many tiny particles.
As the light travels through these particles, shorter wavelengths (blues) are scattered more effectively than longer wavelength light (red). Therefore, the blue we would otherwise see is scattered, but the red isn't and makes it to our eyes, allowing us to perceive the beautiful color.
This change in color is also often observed during times where abnormally high numbers of particulates are present, such as after a volcanic eruption. It is also seen during a lunar eclipse.
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