During the day, we enjoy the sunshine, and at night, it’s nice to have the Moon provide a soft glow. The light from the Moon, however, is an illusion.
The moon is largely composed of dark, volcanic rock and doesn’t share many similarities with Earth.
For instance, the moon doesn’t have a hot core like Earth does; rather, it’s completely cold.
Additionally, the moon is motionless–it neither rotates nor faces different directions over time.
Although it shares some commonalities with our planet (e.g., an orbit around Earth), there are enough differences to make lunar travel quite an adventure!
Why does the moon shine?
The answer is two-fold.
- First, the moon reflects light from the sun just like a mirror.
- Second, when the sun’s light hits the moon’s surface, some of the light is scattered in all directions and bounced back to Earth (a process called “reflection”).
The Moon is a reflector. It reflects sunlight just like a mirror. The difference is that the Moon is not a perfect reflector. It reflects some light and absorbs some light.
The amount of light it reflects depends on the angle at which the sunlight hits the surface of the Moon. When the Sun is high in the sky, the Moon reflects more sunlight than when the Sun is low in the sky.
The Moon also has a very thin atmosphere.
This atmosphere scatters some of the sunlight that hits the surface of the Moon. The scattered light is what makes the Moon appear to glow when we see it at night.
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How does the moon reflect sunlight?
The Moon reflects sunlight because of its surface composition. The Moon’s surface is covered with fine dust that is highly reflective.
This dust is constantly being kicked up by the motion of the Moon’s surface, which creates a bright shine.
When the Sun’s light hits the Moon’s surface, this dust reflects the sunlight back into space.
As a result, the Moon appears bright in our night sky. Interestingly, the side of the Moon that faces away from Earth is not as bright because there is less dust on that side to reflect sunlight.
Read also: What Would Happen If There Was No Moon
Why does the moon shine white?
The Moon is often said to shine with a soft, white light. But why is this?
The answer has to do with the way that light reflects off of the Moon’s surface. When sunlight hits the Moon, it is reflected back into space.
However, unlike other surfaces, the Moon reflects all colors of light equally.
As a result, the human eye perceives the color as white. Interestingly, this is not always the case. During a total eclipse, for example, the Moon may take on a reddish hue.
This is because the Sun’s light is filtered through Earth’s atmosphere before it reaches the Moon.
The atmosphere scatters some of the blue light waves, leaving only the red light waves to reflect off of the Moon’s surface. Consequently, total eclipses provide a rare opportunity to see the Moon in a different light – quite literally!
Read also: What Happens If The Moon Crashes Into Earth
The bottom line
The Moon shines because it reflects sunlight. The brightness of the Moon varies depending on the position of the Sun and the amount of dust on the surface.
The color of the light reflected by the Moon is white, although it may appear to be a different color during a total eclipse.
The Moon does not produce its own light, so it is not visible in the sky during a new moon. However, during a full moon, the entire face of the moon is illuminated by sunlight.
This is because the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon reflects sunlight back to us.
We see a bright, full moon when the Moon is near the Earth in its orbit. When the Moon is far from Earth in its orbit, we see a faint, thin crescent moon.