Why Friday's 'Pink Moon' Will Look An Exquisite Orange, Not Pink (If You Know When To Look)

Earth's satellite will actually look a delicate shade of pale orange, turning to yellow as it rises above the eastern horizon at dusk this Good Friday.

A beautiful muted orange, that gradually turns to a lighter, slightly brighter yellow as the moon rises higher in the sky.

Colors in the sun's light with short wavelengths, such as violet and blue, strike more particles and are therefore more easily absorbed and scattered by oxygen and nitrogen molecules.

Consequently, the visual effect of Rayleigh scattering is intensified, and the yellow, orange and red end of the spectrum dominate the light that makes it to your eyes.

That means that technically the "best" time to see the Pink Moon from North America, when it's closest to being 100% illuminated, is at moonset on Good Friday morning.

That said, the presence of excessive dust and smoke in the atmosphere (perhaps after a spate of storms, volcanic eruptions or, more locally, wildfires or agricultural burning) can turn the lunar disk a deeper red.

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