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Color around the moon

  1. Jun 24, 2010 #1
    I was staring at the moon last night and noticed that as the clouds passed next to the moon a ring of color would surround the moon. The inner ring (closest to the moon) was blue. The middle ring looked yellow. And the outer ring looked red. It looked so cool! But i have no idea why this was happening. Could anyone explain this phenomena?

    And please excuse my ignorance. Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2010 #2


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    It's the same basic phenomenom that causes a rainbow. Water droplets (or possibly ice crystals) in the atmosphere refract the light from the moon, and since the index of refraction is a function of wavelength, different frequencies get refracted by a different amounts, so the white light from the moon gets split into colors.
  4. Jun 24, 2010 #3
    I was thinking it was linked to the same concept behind a rainbow but wasn't entirely sure. Thanks a lot phyzguy
  5. Jun 24, 2010 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

  6. Jun 24, 2010 #5
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