Why The Moon is Red Tonight

Many of you might have looked up at the moon this evening and thought…”wow, the moon is red tonight”. Well the moon was red tonight, but it was not because of the normal reason. When the moon appears to be red it is called a “Blood Moon”. This happens due to a Total Lunar Eclipse. When a total lunar eclipse takes place the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in a straight line. During this process the Earth blocks the Sunlight and casts a shadow over the Moon. This casting of a shadow then actually makes the Moon appear red instead of dark. Now this is because of Rayleigh Scattering (the scattering of light by particles in a medium) in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The issue with us having a blood moon tonight (8/30/2015) is because the next total lunar eclipse isn’t scheduled to happen until September 28th, 2015. So what is causing this red tint of the moon tonight? The reason is because of the wild fires that are happening in Canada right now. The smoke from the fires was pushed down into the States by the upper level winds. This smoke caused the sky to look hazy this afternoon and evening which then proceeded to make the Moon appear red tonight. This trend could actually continue the next several days because upper level winds will remain out of the northwest. So enjoy the view while you can! And our next scheduled total lunar eclipse will take place September 28th.

– Meteorologist Nick Jansen

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 30, 2015

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