Italian photographer Marcella Giulia Pace has dedicated a decade to studying the moon’s ever-changing colors as viewed from Earth.
In her collection of 48 carefully selected images, she showcases the moon’s natural off-white brown-gray hue, a result of its dusty surface when illuminated by the sun. However, the moon’s appearance can vary dramatically due to the influence of Earth’s atmosphere.
Earth’s atmosphere, composed of diverse layers of air, is far from uniform. When the moon’s light traverses these layers, it encounters tiny air particles that scatter the light.
It is noteworthy here that blue light scatters more readily than red or orange due to its inherent properties. Consequently, observers on Earth may witness the moon taking on reddish or orange tones, particularly when it hovers near the horizon.
Moreover, the moon’s appearance can be further altered by the presence of atmospheric elements such as water droplets, dust, or smoke from wildfires. The colors perceived are contingent upon the atmospheric conditions prevailing at any given moment.
Beyond color shifts, the moon’s shape may also appear slightly distorted when observed from Earth. This phenomenon arises from the varying density of the atmosphere, with thicker layers nearer the surface and thinner ones at higher altitudes.
Therefore, the moon’s light undergoes a subtle bending as it traverses these layers, resulting in the moon appearing somewhat flattened rather than a perfect circle when seen from our vantage point.