Why Does the Moon Get a Red Hue During a Total Lunar Eclipse

When there is a full moon during a total lunar eclipse, its face adopts a brick-red hue. While most people agree that this fiery glow is pretty dramatic, most do not know why the effect occurs. A total lunar eclipse happens only when the moon, Earth, and sun are perfectly lined up. Even though the moon is covered by Earth’s shadow, it does not become dark.

During a Total Lunar Eclipse, the Moon Gets Lit By Light from Earth’s Halo

The red moon during a Total Lunar Eclipse If a person stands on the moon during a total lunar eclipse, he or she would see a fiery rim encircling the dark planet. This rim of red light is what lights the moon in a red hue during the spectacular event. The light of the sun bends around the edges of Earth and gets reflected onto the moon. Because the light travels through our atmosphere, it filters the shorter-wavelength blue light, leaving just orange and red light to bathe the moon’s surface.

The Moon Changes Many Shades During the Stages of a Total Lunar Eclipse

The moon usually changes several hues during a total lunar eclipse, going from grayish to orange and amber. Atmospheric conditions could affect the brightness of the colors as well, and large wildfires and recent volcanic eruptions may cause it to appear in an even darker shade of red. During partial lunar eclipses, when the sun, Earth, and moon are not in perfect alignment, the planet’s shadow engulfs only parts of the moon and the red-hue effect is lost.

People observing the red moon during a Total Lunar EclipseThis year’s total lunar eclipse was visible in Australia, western South America, parts of the western United States, and Southeast Asia. In other parts of the world, just some stages of the lunar eclipse were visible, including the partial and penumbral phases. The next total lunar eclipse will be visible for people in some parts of Asia and Australia, as well as North America, South America, and the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. It will also be visible from Antarctica, even though few people might want to observe it there.