Q:

What causes a red moon?

A:

Quick Answer

A red moon occurs when the Earth eclipses the moon from sunlight. The moon looks red due to dispersed light from Earth's sunrises and sunsets that is refracted back onto the moon's surface.

Continue Reading
What causes a red moon?
Credit: Philip Hart/Stocktrek Images Stocktrek Images Getty Images

Full Answer

As the sun shines its light rays toward Earth, many of the rays are absorbed into the atmosphere. Those rays that are not absorbed are reflected back off of the Earth. Blue light rays scatter when beamed into the Earth, which is the reason the sky is blue. Red light, however, is refracted around the Earth. When there is a total lunar eclipse, those red light rays are aimed at the moon, giving it a reddish glow.

Learn more about Our Moon

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What makes a half moon?

    A:

    According to NASA, the phases of the moon are caused by the sunlight and shadow created by its relative position to the sun. At two points during the 29.5-day lunar cycle, the side of the moon facing the Earth is half in sunlight, half in shade. This creates a half moon, a phase that lasts a few days before it either fills to gibbous or shrinks to a waning crescent.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why does the moon shine?

    A:

    The moon appears to shine because its surface reflects sunlight. Light from the sun travels through space to reach the Earth-moon system just over eight minutes after it is emitted. Some of this light falls on the surface of the moon where, according to Universe Today, 12 percent of it is reflected back into space.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What causes a crescent moon?

    A:

    Crescent moons happen when Earth, the sun and moon are positioned in a way that only shows a portion of the reflected light on the moon. The result is a crescent-shaped light pattern.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is the moon important?

    A:

    Most people know that the moon's gravitational influence has an effect on the tides on Earth, but some scientists also believe that the presence of the moon played an important role in making Earth habitable to begin with. The interplay between the Earth and the moon mirrors events that occurred throughout the early solar system, as a Mars-sized object may have hit the Earth, sending some of the mantle into orbit that soon cooled into the moon. Over time, the relationship between the Earth and the moon may well have assisted the advent of life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore