Why does the Moon appear white and the Sun yellow?

Wednesday 20th October 2010
Submitted by Vandana Gupta
TERESA FISHER, BIRMINGHAM

The Moon is actually quite black – it reflects the same amount of light as coal. Even a full Moon is 400,000 times less bright than the Sun. Your retina contains cone and rod receptors. The cones are the only ones that sense colour, but they need higher light intensities to work. The Moon is only bright enough to power the rods, and appears light grey against a black sky.

GOT A QUESTION?

Scratching your head over a burning scientific conundrum? submit your question and we'll get our esteemed panel of experts to answer it for you.

 

Could humans evolve again from apes if we went extinct?
previous qanda Article
What happens when galaxies collide?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Meteors are able to create sound waves. As they tear their way through the atmosphere they can create a sonic boom in the same way a fast-moving aeroplane does. However, since meteors are...

Beard hair is quite different to head hair; it is coarser, curlier and doesn't fall out as we get older. Comparatively little work has been done on the genetics of human hair colour, but it is...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

Not for long. The gruesome idea of nails and hair continuing to grow on a rotting corpse is fascinating. But it’s a myth – at least if you’re thinking of luscious locks and long...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here