It May Not Be a Super Blue Moon, but Tonight's Orange Moon Is Still Special

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Feb. 2 2024, Published 1:14 p.m. ET

A view of the rare, orange-appearing Blue Supermoon in Marseille, France.
Source: Getty Images

Lunar phases are believed by many to hold spiritual meaning, with celestial events, both rare and frequent, holding special value to many who observe them. While the orange-appearing super blue moon from August 2023 will not happen again until 2037, per NASA, we nevertheless can still find meaning and awe in the vibrant colors of each night's moon until then.

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So, why does tonight's moon appear orange? Let's explore the factors that affect the way we interpret the hues of the moon each time we are lucky enough to observe it.

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Why is the moon orange tonight?

According to the Sun, the Earth's atmosphere "absorbs and scatters" different colors of light. As the moon moves through its phases, it appears in various colors depending on how much atmosphere the moon's light has to pass through.

Therefore, according to Newsweek, how wavelengths of light are processed in the Earth's atmosphere accounts for the varying colors the moon may appear. Blue light, according to the article, separates from other colors of light and makes room for "more of the reds and yellows to reach us," hence the vivid orange moon in the night sky.

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According to an Insider Tech video, the moon may appear a deep orange due to a blood moon lunar eclipse. When we view a full moon, according to the video, what appears to us observing from the Earth is sunlight being reflected off the moon's surface.

Earth's atmosphere bends "red wavelengths of light around the planet," resulting in "a combination of light from every sunrise and sunset on earth, all happening at once."

Orange moon in the night sky surrounded with trees.
Source: iStock
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As the record-setting wildfires in Canada in 2023 blazed across North America, the sky appeared orange for quite some time. The orange haze rendered New York's iconic landmarks almost unrecognizable or straight from a heavily filtered science fiction movie.

According to the Old Farmers Almanac, the moon has appeared noticeably orange during the harvest moons of years past, which relates to the autumnal equinox. Per a explanation, during this time, the moon is nearer the horizon, and we know that that allows the Earth's atmosphere to best absorb blue wavelengths of light and allow the moon to appear reddish and orange.

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What does an orange moon mean spiritually?

People across various cultures often find purpose and spiritual meaning, connecting moments in their lives to milestone calendar events.

Ancient peoples connected the phases of the moon, especially orange-appearing moons, to legends of the deities whom they worshipped, according to

From "connection, creativity...passion, ambition, strength, and a zest for life" to "transformation, renewal, and spiritual growth" the color orange and the moon's appearance itself can be seen as a harbinger of great things to come, per Simply Symbolism.

So if you manage to spot an orange moon in the sky tonight, you might have wonderful changes to come!

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