On coming Sunday, 13th October the Moon will appear big, bright and a bit orangish in appearance.
The moon is observed as a full moon when it closest to the autumnal equinox. It happens when the sun shines almost directly over the equator and peeps its orange head shortly after sunset.
Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, recommends people in the UK should pop out for a walk to observe the phenomenon.
Talking to Country Living, she stated – “The October full moon will happen on the 13th and is known as the Hunter’s Moon. The Moon will rise just after sunset, at 18:35 and will be highest in the sky around midnight, so if you go for a walk after dinner and the skies are clear, face south and you should be able to spot a beautiful full moon”.
Bob Berman, an astronomer for the Farmer’s Almanac explains the underlying phenomenon.
“When the moon is high overhead, it is dwarfed by the vast hemisphere of the heavens and appears to our eyes as a small disk in the sky”, he says.
“By contrast, when the moon is low, it is viewed in relation to earthly objects, such as chimneys or trees, whose size and shape provide scale. Our brain compares the size of the moon to the trees, buildings or other reference points, and suddenly, the moon seems massive”, he adds.
Why it appears Orange?
When the moon is low in the sky, it is farther away from us compared to it being directly overhead. Therefore, the light that’s being reflected off from a horizon-hugging moon has to travel a farther distance going through more particles of air to reach our eyes.
By the time this light reaches us, the shorter wavelengths of light, the ‘blue’ ones, are already scattered by the air. It only leaves the longer wavelengths, the ‘red’ ones, to reach our eyes. Perhaps, for us, the bluish hues are filtered out, and the moon takes on an orange tinge.
Ergo, get ready to witness an orange moon the coming weekend.