Now that NASA's LADEE spacecraft has confirmed the presence of Neon in the moon's atmosphere could the official explanation of the moon's light end up being change from reflecting the sun's light to some sort of electromagnetic interaction with the neon caused by solar winds, or something like that?

  • $\begingroup$ I've never seen a moon this particular shade of red: neoncircus.com/images/hire_catalogue/full/… $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2015 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ @WayfaringStranger your point being? $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2015 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ "Electromagnetic interaction" with neon would likely produce ionized neon, which is the red color you see in the sign, but not when looking at the moon. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2015 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @WayfaringStranger What about a blood moon? $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2015 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ Some lunar eclipses are redder than others due to increased scattering of light through earth's atmosphere when it's extra humid or dusty. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse#Blood_moon I've seen them orange, I've seen them dark red, never any that looked like neon; except for the Photoshopped images on the internet. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2015 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


The moon's "atmosphere" isn't much of an atmosphere, and is sometimes called an exosphere. The particle density in the moon's atmosphere is low enough to be considered a very good vacuum for Earth experiments.

The discovery is mentioned in this article on phys.org, which specifically says

There's not enough neon to make the moon visibly glow because the moon's atmosphere is extremely tenuous, about 100 trillion times less dense than Earth's atmosphere at sea level.


The behavior of a dense atmosphere is driven by collisions between its atoms and molecules. However, the moon's atmosphere is technically referred to as an exosphere because it's so thin, its atoms rarely collide.

As far as the question "what's the importance" in your title, it seems mainly to be a confirmation of something that has been predicted for a while, as well as providing more data concerning exospheres: the most common type of "atmosphere" in the solar system.


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