This stunning composite shows all the colors of our Moon

A few days ago, we had the chance to observe the first “Blood Moon” of this year. It is the total lunar eclipse that causes the moon to appear red, hence the scary name of the phenomenon. But aside from red, our moon can appear to have many different colors.

In a stunning composite image, Italian teacher and photographer Marcella Giulia Pace brought together all the colors of the moon. From the usual grayish tones, up to yellow, dark red, blue and even purple. Our moon appears in so many different shades, and Marcella put them all together and shared some details of this captivating photo with DIYP.

The composite brings together full moon photos that Marcella has taken over the past ten years. In none of the photos does the moon have its photoshopped color – the photographer shows it as it appeared before her eyes and lens. And there are up to 48 different colors and shades!

When it comes to gear, Marcella has had various camera models over the past decade. These photos were therefore not all taken with the same equipment or the same settings. However, this does not affect the quality of the final composite. And not to mention that it certainly doesn’t affect the impact it has on the viewer. The photos were also taken from different locations in Italy where Marcella has lived over the years. Finally, the Moon in the photos was taken at different heights above the horizon. “The most flattened are those that have just risen, ovalized by refraction”, explains the photographer.

“I hadn’t noticed all the colors that our atmosphere gives to our satellite before starting this work,” Marcella tells us. “I didn’t remember having photographed, for example, a brown moon or that the violet moon was such an incandescent purple. It wasn’t until putting the “brown” Moon next to the yellow that I realized how brown was brown and how yellow was yellow.

Marcella points out that the photos have not been arranged in chronological order. Instead, as you can see, she arranged them in order of color gradation shades. She chose a spiral shape for her final composition for several reasons. First of all, its aesthetics and its harmony. Then, the influence that this form has had on the region where it lives. “I live in a part of Sicily where there are many traces of Neolithic populations. The spiral is represented very often”, explains Marcella. “I am fascinated by the cyclical up and down movement of the spiral, comparable to the phases of the moon. The spiral symbol was associated with the crescent moon, as can be seen in many Neolithic artifacts.

Finally, there is the spiral path of the moon:

“During the composition phase, an astrophysicist friend, Salvo Pluchino, also pointed out that the spiral shape was reminiscent of the spiral trajectory that the Moon has made over the last 4 billion years, passing from a distance from the Earth from about 30,000 km to the current average of 380,000 km.

Finally, why does the moon take on so many different colors? There are several factors that affect it. It depends on its height above the horizon. Additionally, we should add the level of airborne humidity or dust to the equation. As you can see in the image, the shape of the Moon also changes. “At the bottom of the horizon, refraction compresses the lunar disk at the poles and makes it look like an ellipse,” notes the photographer. “And that’s one of the reasons I chose to present my full moons through a spiral arrangement that ends in a lunar eclipse.”

Marcella is an avid astrophotographer, and there are many other awesome photos she has taken. So be sure to check it out website for more of his wonderful work.

[via APOD]

Stewart C. Hartline