When the moon seems orange or yellow, it is because the observer is viewing it through additional atmospheric layers. Similar to how the sun appears orange or red on the horizon, when the moon is low in the sky, its light must travel through more of the blue-absorbing atmosphere before reaching the observer’s eye. Only yellow, orange, and red light will remain unabsorbed at this point.

The Harvest Moon is the conventional name for a yellow moon. However, the expression refers more to the sun’s early rising time during the autumn, which provides more light after sunset throughout the harvest season. The optical illusion of the moon appearing larger or closer when this colour is present is known as the moon illusion. It differs from a supermoon, which occurs when the moon is physically closer to the Earth.

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