Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Fiery Full Moon

A Fiery Full Moon

Tonight marked the first lunar eclipse of 2014, and though I knew I would not be able to catch a glimpse of the eclipse, only visible in the western hemisphere, I did see a remarkably orange full moon on my way home from a walk this evening. I caught it just as it was rising over the Alps south of Geneva. At the time of a lunar eclipse, a moon can appear orange because of an excess build up of dust particles in the atmosphere, but it usually appears this colour when it is rising and setting anyway because it is closest to the horizon. 

At the horizon, the moon's light has to travel through more atmosphere to reach our eyes than it would when it is shining brightly in the open sky. When the moon is high above, light rays reach us easily. Closer to the horizon, the moon is actually further away, so it is working twice as hard to reach us, with colours bouncing off dust particles and getting lost along the way. The colour of visible light with the longest wavelength is red, with orange and yellow not far behind, so a rising moon is often a warm, mysterious mix of these. See how the moon's colour changed as it moves away from the horizon this evening?

Wishing you a happy Full Moon!

And if you want to see more moons, follow these links to Moon Photography and Photography (Has To Start Somewhere).

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