Tech UPTechnologyWhy does the Moon turn red during a total...

Why does the Moon turn red during a total eclipse?

Lunar eclipses always occur during a full moon (full moon). In the eclipse, the Earth, illuminated by the Sun, creates a long cone-shaped shadow that covers the satellite. This is known as threshold. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes completely within the threshold.

During totality, which can last about an hour (since the shadow of our planet is larger than its satellite), the Moon is not totally invisible, but has a weak reddish luminosity caused by the sunlight diffused by our atmosphere. . In ancient times this reddish glow of the eclipsed Moon produced panic among those who observed it, who believed that it was an indication of coming catastrophes.

The fiery glow is the most dramatic of the three types of lunar eclipses (the other two are called partial and penumbral). A total lunar eclipse occurs only when the sun, Earth, and moon are perfectly aligned. In fact, it is a combination that rarely occurs.

When the moon tiptoes into the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, being totally bathed in the darkest part of that shadow, why is the result not a “dull light”? Instead, why is the moon shrouded in a light orange to blood-red glow?

Here’s why: Imagine yourself standing on the Moon (with lots of dust, cold, and craters at your feet), gazing at Earth during the spectacular night sky event. When the Earth is directly in front of the sun, preventing the sun’s rays from illuminating the moon, you will see a fiery edge surrounding the planet.

“The darkened Earth’s disk is surrounded by every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all at once,” according to NASA. Although our planet is much larger than the sun, the light from our home star bends around the edge of the Earth. This light reflects off the moon.

But not before it travels through our atmosphere, which filters out shorter-wavelength blue light, leaving unscathed reds and oranges bathing the moon’s surface. And there we have it: the result is a splendid red moon.

The moon will change various shades during the different stages of a total lunar eclipse, going from an initial gray to orange and amber. Weather conditions can also affect the brightness of colors. For example, additional particles in the atmosphere, such as ash from a large forest fire or a recent volcanic eruption, can cause the moon to appear a darker shade of red, NASA reports.

Is it always like this?

The moon is not always completely hidden behind the shadow of the Earth. During partial lunar eclipses, the sun, the Earth, and the moon are slightly apart in their alignment, so the shadow of our planet envelops only part of the moon.

A recent sky watcher may not even notice the third type of lunar eclipse, the penumbral type, in which the moon sits in the gloom of the Earth, or its faint outer shadow.

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