Blue MoonAugust 31st, 2012 at 1:35 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
First, an appropriate tune. We have a full moon tonight. The 2nd full moon in a given month is called a “Blue Moon“. Here’s a video on the subject from NASA. We had a full moon on August 1. A “blue moon” isn’t any bluer in color than any other full moon. It’s just a name, like the “Harvest Moon”. A full moon comes around every 29.5 days, so…on average, every 2.7 years, we get two full moons in a calendar month. The last time this happened was December 2009 and the next time will be July 2015. The “blue moon” depends on your place on the globe and your time zone. You cannot have a blue moon in February. However, on very rare occasion (about every 25 years), there is no full moon in February (in 1961, 1999, 2018 and 2037. Because this is something that is a rare phenomena, hence the phrase “Once in a blue moon” to highlight something that happens rarely, like a Detroit Lion playoff appearance. In Dec. 2009 we had a blue moon on New Year’s Eve. That happens only roughly every 19 years. So, you could say that the Detroit Lions winning a playoff game is a “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve” event. No….wait, that’s only happened once since 1957, and 2009 minus 1957 is 52 years. Hmmm…how about the Lions winning a playoff game is a “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve AND all the socks match coming out of the dryer” or “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve AND they don’t start playing Christmas music on the radio until after Thanksgiving” or “once in a blue moon AND the price of gasoline goes DOWN before a holiday”. Also, it’s on average every 91 years that there is a blue moon and an eclipse on New Year’s Eve…that’s not even as long as the time between Chicago Cub World Series wins! ADD: there are no flyovers of the Intl. Space Station thru Sept. 13th. Here’s this week’s Sky at a Glance and more from Spaceweather. We can have a blue-colored moon, if it’s shining thru particles from volcanic dust or the smoke from a forest fire (only if the particles are the right size.). Also, here’s a neat pic. of the Northern Lights from Lake Superior on Aug. 20th.