Picture of spiral made from different colored moons.

A purple moon? See 48 stunning lunar hues

After 10 years of taking pictures of full moons, a photographer has captured lunar light in a rainbow of colors.

Through her range of images, Marcella Giulia Pace shows how Earth’s atmospheric blanket affects the way we see the moon.
COMPOSITE OF 48 IMAGES

The moon’s actual color is an off-white brown-gray when its dusty surface is sunlit. But Earth’s atmosphere modifies our views of the moon, altering colors and shape. Italian photographer Marcella Giulia Pace, who has captured lunar variations for 10 years, chose 48 of her images to compare in this spiral montage.

The varied colors appear when the moon is seen or photographed through stratified and irregular gas layers of Earth’s atmospheric blanket. Tiny air molecules in the layers scatter light that hits them, and their structure causes blue light to scatter more readily than red or orange. (Explore the atlas of moons.)

When, for example, Pace photographs the moon through

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