When you see the moon in the daytime, it is very light and faint with the blue sky surrounding it. When you look at the moon at night, it seems to be bright yellow. The photographs from high resolution cameras of satellites show that the moon is gray in color. So, which is it?
The Color of the Moon
Detailed photographs show that moon is gray in color, which is true. This is the best view of the moon we can get. Moon gets the grayness from the materials which form its crust. The crust is mostly formed with materials like silicon, calcium, pyroxene, and oxygen. Combination of the colors of these substances gives the gray appearance to moon. There are areas on the surface of moon which appears to be green. They are not vegetation, but a rare earth rocks called Olivine. Most of these colored rocks are expelled out to the surface from the interior of the moon through volcanic eruptions.
The volcanic craters are seen as dark patches on the surface of moon. They are low lying areas called Lunar Maria. 16% of the surface of the Moon is covered by Lunar Maria. These were formed about 3.5 billion years ago during the formation of the moon. These patches can be seen in most of the photographs of the Moon.
Why Don’t We See The Actual Colors From Earth?
We can’t see the actual color from the surface of Earth because our atmosphere partially filters or blocks various wavelengths of light reaching us. This happens because of the scattering of shorter wavelengths of light by our atmosphere. When moon is at the lower end of the sky, the rays has to pass through thicker atmosphere. Therefore, the shorter rays at the blue end are scattered, so the Moon appears yellow.