“That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, whom mortals call the moon.” This was Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ode to the cloud of white that lights up the night skies above us. When we were kids, we loved nothing better than gazing out of our bedroom windows on a dark, clear night, and getting a glimpse of the moon. But, we had a lot of questions, in the adorable and insightful way a lot of children do!
Among the questions we always used to ask include: Is the moon made of cheese? Who is the man who lives on the moon? Why does a man live on a moon made of cheese? All pertinent question, we’re sure you’ll agree! But, the main question that used to plague was “Why is the moon white?” Well, this is something that many people today wonder, so we’re going to take the time to try to answer.
Why is the moon white?
Well, the simple answer is that it’s not. It’s easy to look at the moon and think that it’s black and white, and most people do because the moon lacks the color comparisons that we have on Earth. In actual fact, the surface of the moon is brownish-gray – because we are comparing it with the pitch black of the night sky, our eyes perceive it as being white. Now, of course, there are plenty of dust particles floating around that can affect the way we see the moon, and reflect different colors, but, the moon is always brown/gray.
Pictures of the moon
If you happen to be able to get hold of, or find, pictures from the different moon landings that have taken place over the years, we suggest you take a look. These photos will corroborate the fact that the surface of the moon, and the dirt which our astronauts walked on, is actually gray in color. And, for those of you who are dubious, there are dozens of pictures out there, maybe even hundreds, and they all show that the moon is a brown/gray color. It’s simply our eyes perceiving the moon through our atmosphere that makes it seem white.
The moon has other colors
Though we know the moon is predominantly a brownish-gray color, and we only perceive the shades of white or black, the moon does actually have other colors. There is a decent spectrum of color here, we just can’t pick it up when we look at it. But, analysis has shown that there are hints of blue, as well as faint traces of yellow and pink. So, the moon isn’t all the dull, grayish brown blob you thought it was!
There are a good many reasons why the moon appears white to the naked eye. It’s actually no white, and now you can let people know that the moon is really the brownish-gray color the NASA astronauts said it was. We just think it is white because that’s what we see when we look at the sky. Yes, there are trace amounts of other colors in there as well, but, you now understand why it is that the moon comes across as white when it isn’t.