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Thread: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

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    Default Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017



    Not sure how many of you are in the San Francisco bay area, but last night (Monday August 7th 2017), the moon was literally fiery orange in color as it came up over the horizon. As it ascended into the sky as the evening progressed, the color slowly faded into the usual bright white. Did anyone else notice this? I was on the road driving home from dinner when I saw this, so I didn't have the scope out at that time.

    I thought about it for a bit why it was this color. And after a few minutes I started to think that it was this color because of the dirty air we are having from all the fires and whatnot. The dirty atmosphere may have been acting like a filter on the telescope. But for the first few minutes I was wondering if the moon was that color because of the earth's shadow or something like that. Extremely beautiful sight regardless.

    Anyone know for sure why it was so orange?
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    Default Re: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

    Your first guess was right: all the smoke in the air.

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    Default Re: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

    You'll often notice the Moon being orange or even a red hue when it is so on the horizon. Same thing happens to the Sun as it rises or sets.

    You have three factors at play here: Rayleigh scattering by air molecules, light scattering by aerosols, and molecular absorbtion.

    Smoke and haze exacerbates these effects.

    Last year, at one point, there was so much smoke in the air that even Jupiter and Venus got in on the act, even when they were higher up.

    Do a google search on atmospheric extinction. Lots of great information out there for the reading.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

    Normally it is caused by scattered light in the lower atmosphere as it is rising.
    With the forest fire smoke in the air here it is a pumpkin orange all night long.
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    Default Re: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

    Yeah it was orange. I attributed it to the smoke and the weird weather we are having.
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    Default Re: Bay Area moon rising in the early evening of August 7th 2017

    Thanks for all the replies. Great information. Yeah, we've got some really bad air here right now. So bad that the sky isn't even blue during cloudless sunny days like today. It's a whitish haze.

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