March 06, 2004
The above photo was taken on January 10, 2004 near Rolla, Missouri. As I was driving home this evening, I couldn't help but notice the low-hanging and very striking Moon. I stopped at Schuman Lake, which is located close to my house, and took this picture showing the Moon hovering above a train engine sitting quietly at the edge of the lake.
When the Moon is fairly close to the horizon, moonlight has to travel through more of our atmosphere (greater path-length) than during the middle of the night. This results in increased scattering of the shorter wavelengths (blues and greens), enabling the residual, longer wavelengths (yellows and oranges) to take center stage. Note that the Moon itself looks pale yellow on this photo, but its reflection off the lake is orange. Additionally, when the Moon resides near the horizon, the "Moon Illusion Effect" makes it look bigger than is actually the case. See if you notice this when you look at tonight's full Moon.