Why the sky was red, purple and pink over Lancashire tonight

As the saying goes ‘red sky at night shepherd’s delight’… so you might be wondering why tonight’s sunset has been so stunning – and there’s a reason behind it.

September’s full moon – known as the Harvest Moon – is typically one of the most impressive of the year.

The equinox, in fact, is what gives this moon its name. The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the Harvest Moon, a term first published in 1706.

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Other names for September’s full moon include: the Fruit Moon, as a nod to fruits that are now ripening, such as apples and grapes, and the Barley Moon, because the grain barley is harvested and threshed at this time.

LancsLive readers have been sharing their pictures of the moon – with images being shared from Preston, Darwen, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley.

But that’s why the moon has looked so beautiful this week. You might also wonder why Autumn and Winter produce the best sunsets – and science has the answer.

A picture by LancsLive photographer James Maloney

The more stunning sunset are influence by the clouds, the temperature and the tilt of the earth – while all align perfectly in the colder months to produce better views as we look to the heavens.

For the best sunsets meteorologists agree we need mid to high-level cloud – those which aren’t too close to the Earth’s surface, so that when the sun begins to set the angle of our star hits the base layer of the clouds and refracts back towards us.

But why does this happen more often in the colder months?

Warton by John Waring
Warton by John Waring

In the colder months the angle of the Earth tilts slightly more away from the sun… this means that cold fronts crossing the continents are able to penetrate a little bit further north than in Spring and Summer.

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About the author: Patrick Shoe

General coffee junkie. Infuriatingly humble entrepreneur. Introvert. Extreme zombie practitioner.

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