Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why is the Moon red during Eclipse? (Qi Ren)

Even without direct sunlight, when the Earth is in between our two bright celestial neighbors and blocks the sun from shining directly on the moon, the moon still shines, kind of, during an eclipse. This is because some sunlight is still hitting it. Particles in the atmosphere cause the light rays coming from the sun to bounce around. Some are refracted, or bent. They get redirected through the atmosphere and out around behind Earth and onto the moon, which is blocked only from direct sunlight.

The more atmosphere that sunlight travels through, the more the blue and green parts of the spectrum are scattered. That’s why sunrises and sunsets are yellow and pink and red. The low early or late sun, hitting the atmosphere at a shallow angle, has to fight through more atmospheric particles on its way to your eye, and the reddish wavelengths get through better. That's why the moon is red during an Eclipse.


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