Monday, November 22, 2021

The Sun and the Moon are the same color.

The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
— Yeats, “Wandering Aengus”

Why does everyone think the Sun is yellow and the Moon is white?

While the Sun often appears yellow when it is low in the sky, and even red in certain atmospheric conditions, its characteristic color is very close to pure white.

And exactly the same thing is true of the Moon; yellow or red at times, but basically white.

And if the Sun were yellow and the Moon white — well, then the Moon would look just as yellow as the Sun, since moonlight is only reflected sunlight. To call a non-radiant body “white” is simply to say that it is highly reflective of all wavelengths of visible light, but of course it can only reflect such light as shines on it. A “white” object illuminated by yellow light would indistinguishable from a yellow object.


John Goes said...

It is a matter of perspective, is it not? Sun + Earthly Atmosphere + my eye = yellow. Sun + my eye floating in space = White. If one man wears colored glasses and claims the sun is green, his perspective is not wrong, per se, if the glasses are not left out of the story.

The whole Earth is, in effect, wearing colored glasses. These glasses are good and wonderful. I would be inclined to say, rather, that the sun is yellow because one really ought to view it from the Earth, through our skies.

Bruce Charlton said...

By 'coincidence' I read something like this recently, but I can't remember where.

But "moonlight is only reflected sunlight" does not mean that moon and sunlight have the same color - and they surely don't. No matter how bright a full moon, the world it illuminates appears monochrome. Light reflected from different coloured walls, illuminates differently.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...


I am talking about the Sun as viewed from Earth. This isn’t one of those “blue jays aren’t really blue” things. I mean that the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same color. This is very obviously true for me.


Perhaps that’s the key point: not that the objects in the sky appear to differ in color, but that they illuminate the world differently. (This is not because of the color of moonlight but because it is too dim for the cones in our eyes.)

Ra1119bee said...

William ,

This may sound somewhat off topic to your Sun and Moon post ( although maybe
the recent Beaver Moon on Friday Nov 19 may have some synchronicity significance to your Sun and Moon post and to what I am about to say here, which is this :

Here's the question : What connects Oswald Spengler, H.P. Lovecraft, Slender Man, The Wolves/Wotan ( 88 ), The Recent
Waukesha Wisconsin tragedy and the Kyle ( See Kyle? ) Rittenhouse Verdict ( on Nov 19 )
to the Bigger Picture which ( I believe ) is the Shifting of Ages : from the Industrial Age to the Silicon Age, a Technocracy, aka
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, aka The Great Reset and metaphysically from
the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius?

Also recall the word Satan and Chaos reduces to 19 in Gematria.

Are all the above just a string of coincidences, or perhaps just random, or maybe 'meant to be' or perhaps PLANNED/Manipulated for a symbolic ritual purpose?

And if the latter, what purpose??

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...


I was going to ask you about Nov 19 and whether it meant anything to you, seeing as how your handle includes the number 1119.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - "This is not because of the color of moonlight but because it is too dim for the cones in our eyes."

I don't think so, I least not by my experience. I can read a book by full moon light - which presumably needs cones - but the world still appears monochrome; or at least a very different colour experience from a dull day.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Well, unless our whole understanding of optics is completely wrong, there's no such thing as monochrome light. White light contains all wavelengths and should make the world appear in full color -- unless it is so dim that we see it with our rods rather than our cones.

I would agree that you probably need cones to read (because rods have lower spatial acuity). I would guess that full moon light is bright enough for some cone activity, but dim enough that you still see primarily with your rods.

Anyway, it's got to be something like that -- something about our eyes, not the light itself. As I say, "monochrome light," if it existed, would overturn all of Newtonian optics.

Never mind, Lord . . .

Please, God, save us from this terrible storm -- oh, never mind, it's just stopped! -- traditional prayer Good night, Westley. Good work...