For many people, moon gazing is an act of relaxation and peace. In fact, some have even referred to it as a form of meditation! It can help increase awareness of our natural world and decrease the stress that comes with day-to-day life. This simple activity can help you understand why the moon glows, as well as how it takes on so many different appearances over its 29-day cycle.
The reason why the moon appears to glow is because it reflects light from the sun. The moon is actually a big pile of dead rock that doesn’t produce any light on its own! It only glows because sunlight hits the surface and bounces off of old volcanoes, craters, and other structures. This makes the moon look brighter at some times than others.
During the phase of the moon that is considered a half moon, for example, it only reflects 13% of the sunlight it receives. This is because during this time the moon and Earth are at an angle to each other. At other times, such as during the “new moon” phase, the Moon is closer to Earth and reflects more of the sunlight that strikes it.
If you want to see the glowing lunar effect for yourself, try looking at the Moon during sunset or sunrise. This will be the best time to catch it because it happens when the moon is near its horizon. The bright orange or red color you see is caused by the sun’s light bouncing off of the Moon and reflecting into your eyes!