Blood red moon: Wildfires cause moon to glow red over California

It’s an eerie sight to see in California: wildfires in the state have given the moon a blood-red cast.

According to local meteorologists, the red hues were due to wildfire smoke in the state, which caused hazy skies and a red tint to the moon.

Igor A. Chicherin captured a timelapse video on Instagram, which revealed a crimson moon rising over Mount Shasta on Sept. 30.

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The effect was seen outside the Golden State as well as wildfires impacted the western United States. Dylan Robichaud, a meteorologist in Eugene, Oregon, reported on Sept. 30 that the moon “appeared orange this morning due to the smoke in the upper atmosphere from the California fires.”

Wildfires continue to scorch millions of acres in the western United States, and the smoke has reached as far as the Midwest and Northeast. The jet stream and upper-level wind flow were able to transport the smoke, bringing Michigan residents a murky haze in the sky in September.

Smoke from the massive Bobcat Fire in California combined with record-breaking temperatures have caused unhealthy air quality in portions of Southern California, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported last month.

What causes a red moon or sun?

Smoke or dust in the sky can cause the sun or moon to take on an orange or red hue.

Sun rays contain light from the whole visible spectrum. On a normal day, short wavelength colors such as purple and blue are filtered out, which cause the sun to look yellow.

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But when sunlight hits smoke particles in the atmosphere, “scattering” occurs, which sends light out in different directions.

“Blue and green wavelengths of visible light are scattered by the smoke particles, while more of the red gets through,” Ken Drozd, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Arizona, said.

Storyful contributed to this story.