Dark Side of Moon Is ... Turquoise

Astronomers say they've seen its true color for 1st time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 1:08 AM CST
Dark Side of the Moon Is ... Turquoise?
The new moon passes between the Sun and the Solar Dynamics Observatory's space telescope.   (AP Photo/NASA- SDO)

Pink Floyd fans take note: The side of the moon referred to as the "dark side" is actually turquoise, astronomers say. Researchers found that the moon's far side is lit by faint blue light reflected from Earth that becomes turquoise as it is reflected back once again, the Guardian reports. "This is sunshine that struck the Earth, was colored by the Earth, was reflected up to the moon, struck the moon, and then came back to us," explains the lead researcher, a senior scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen.

The astronomers studied two years of measurements from Hawaii's Mauna Loa observatory, during which time they took photos of the moon via a telescope that made use of two color filters. Then they came across the "unlikely": Two images taken Jan. 18, 2012, of the crescent moon that featured identical halos; they were able to screen out that light from the bright side of the moon to discover the dark side's true color for the first time. Continued observation of the dark side of the moon's color could help scientists keep track of the color of the Earth and monitor the effects of climate change, the lead researcher says. Standout line in the Guardian's piece: "Surviving members of Pink Floyd were unavailable for comment." (In other moon news, astronomers may have found a milestone moon.)

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