Astronomers have figured out that the dark side of the moon is actually turquoise.
An international team of scientists from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, which is run by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have spent the last two years measuring the moon using a specific telescope.
Peter Thejll, a senior scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, stated, “This is sunshine that struck the Earth, was coloured by the Earth, was reflected up to the moon, struck the moon, and then came back to us.”
The dark side of the moon is actually lit by the light that is reflected from Earth. The Guardian reported, “Images of Earth from space show clearly that the planet looks blue. But when this blue light strikes the moon, the light that’s reflected back is turquoise.”
Thejll added, “Astronauts standing on the moon and looking up at the Earth described it as a blue marble. Having not been into space myself, I don’t know what they meant exactly, but once that blue light strikes the moon’s surface, it shifts to a blue-green colour. We can call it turquoise.”
This was the first attempt to accurately measure the color of the moon since 1965, when an observatory from Bloemfontein in South Africa conducted experiments.
Thejll confirmed, “This is the first accurate color measurement of the dark side of the moon,” and his research has already been accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics, a renowned scientific journal.
It is now hoped that this observation of the dark side of the moon will allow astronomers to further examine the color of the moon. This scientific research would help with the assessment of climate change models, which are often used to predict changes in cloud cover.
Thejll added, “We have measured the same colour now as was seen in the 1960s and that might say something about what has happened to the Earth in the meantime, and it’s consistent with there being no change in the amount of cloud. But this was just one measurement, and the colour of the Earth changes on an hourly basis.”
NASA filmed the dark side of the moon for the first time in February 2012. The project took around 15 months to complete and the video, which was recored by the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, simply revealed that the far-side of the moon was actually just a grey, crater filled area.
[Image via mik ulyannikov/Shutterstock]