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The orange and red tints that the Sun and Moon sometimes take on are caused by the particles in the Earth's atmosphere.

When light (or more specifically, packets of light called photons) from an astronomical object passes through the Earth's atmosphere, it scatters off of particles in the latter. It turns out that these particles like to scatter blue light more than they do red light; so "bluer" photons (those with shorter wavelengths) tend to get scattered, and "redder" photons (those with longer wavelengths) pass through. So, astronomical objects look redder from Earth than they would from space, because the redder wavelengths from the objects penetrate the atmosphere better than the bluer ones. Incidentally, this is why the sky is blue: blue light from the Sun is scattered in all directions on its way to the Earth.

But how does this explain the occasional redness of the Moon or the Sun? Your son may have noticed that they always occur when the Sun or Moon is close to the horizon. If you think about it, sunlight or moonlight must travel through the maximum amount of atmosphere to get to your eyes when the Sun or Moon is on the horizon (remember that that atmosphere is a sphere around the Earth). So, you expect *more* blue light to be scattered from Sunlight or Moonlight when the Sun or Moon is on the horizon than when it is, say, overhead; this makes the object look redder. In other words, the Sun or Moon tends to look orange or red when it is rising or setting because that's the time when the light has to travel through the most atmosphere to get to you. The effect is exacerbated when there are thin clouds in front or behind the Sun or Moon: the clouds themselves often glow bright pink as well, because they are so good at scattering blue light.

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Q: What causes a red moon?
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Related questions

Why is a blood moon red?

Because the moon is in the Earth's shadow. But, a blood moon is one of the names of october's moon. It's not always red. A lunar eclipse is what causes a moon to be red.

What causes the red moon?

Some people think that the moon is actually turning red but really it's the pollution in the air that's making the moon turn red

What real motion of the moon causes the pattern of moon phases?

the rotation of the moon causes the pattern of the moon phase.

What role do shadows play in eclipses?

It provides the light seen around the Moon, in a solar eclipse. It provides the light the Earth blocks out, during a lunar eclipse. Light leaks around the Earth, in a lunar eclipse. Since Earth's atmosphere absorbs and scatters blue, the light reaching the Moon is red, almost a brick red when you look at the eclipsed Moon.

What causes the moon to have seasons?

The moon does not have seasons.

What causes the moon to tilt?

polarity of the moon

Is it a sign when the moon turns red?

A red moon can come from 2 sources. When the full moon rises close to the horizon, it is generally a reddish color because we're looking at it through the smog and pollotion that is in the air. The moon is also a bronze-red color when there is a full lunar eclipse for the exact same reason. The sunlight striking the moon during a total lunar eclipse passes through the earth's atmosphere, which causes the moon to look reddish. If you see a red moon on any other occasion, you might want to consult an eye doctor.

Is Mars known as the red moon or not?

yes it's red moon

When the moon turns red?

the moon turns red on a lunar eclipse

What does the Moon's gravitational pull causes?

sun and the moon

What causes the changes of the moon phases?

The moon spins

What causes the phase of the moon to change?

The moon spins