The reddened moon is caused by the earth's atmosphere acting as a lens and refracting the sun's rays around the intervening earth onto the surface of the moon. So, this reddening is caused by all of the particulate matter, dust, dirt, volcanic ash, clouds, fog and pollution in the earth's atmosphere. In effect, we are seeing simultaneously all of the sunsets on the earth at one time projected onto the moon.
The moon emerging from its full eclipse the night of December 10, 2011 (Photo by Charles Jones, Phoenix, AZ)
It was surprising to see the moon so dark on this full-moon night. As the moon emerged from its eclipse and rose in the sky, it shone with full brightness, blocking out all but the brightest stars. That's the full moon I know in the desert. The desert has an unearthly glow in this full moonlight. I like to take people out to the edge of the Machtesh and look out on it in the moonlight on these full moon nights. It is a view few get, as for most the Machtesh is a day time activity. Now I think of the Israeli Space X team competing to send a robotic satellite on the moon, roll 500 meters, and take photos. Will Israel be the third country in history to land on the Moon? That would give it a special glow, indeed.
- by Ira Machefsky