Author: Mary Knapp

A listener asked, “What is causing the brilliant red color I saw with the full moon?” The August full moon, sometimes called the red moon, owed its color to the particulates in the atmosphere. As the moon is rising or setting, you are viewing it through the haze, smoke, dust, or fog that is close to the surface. The refraction of light through these materials give it the color. It is likely that you’ll see a repeat in September when the full moon occurs on the 24th. That full moon is often called the Harvest Moon. The same type of particulate matter is also common in September providing the opportunity for an encore of the colorful moon.

Figure 1. Red Moon (public domain)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library