Blue Moon Is Coming to a Sky Near You: When & How to See It!

blue moonThe thing about astrological phenomenon that happen from time to time is they can be easy to miss unless you get up at an insane hour of the early morning where you have a three-minute window before the thing vanishes until another 83 years, or you've read up on it enough to really know what you are looking for. Face west, then look 45 degrees to the left, underneath that triangle-shaped thingy, to something slightly orangish tan ... ah! Give up, go make tea and cookies ...

But this month there's a cool astronomical event that anyone who just wants to stare and dream under a pretty sky can witness and enjoy without getting brain warp: two full moons in one month. The first one happens tomorrow night, August 1 (can you believe it's August already?). And the second, known as the Blue Moon, will appear August 31.

I love this kind of astronomy particularly because if you forget to see the first one because you are watching an important TV program, you can mark your calendar for 30 days and catch the next one. But honestly, if you're going to be anywhere outside after dark, you probably can't miss it. Two full moons in one month aren't exactly rare or uncommon -- it happens every three years or so. Still, very cool.

More from The Stir: Biggest Full Moon in Years Brings Out the Crazies

The Huffington Post basically wrote an astronomical lecture on the many different theories as to how the Blue Moon got its name. But I'll spare you all that and tell you it's basically because the second moon of the month looks bluish when you stare at it. Some farmers early in this century came up with that idea. It's not unheard of for the moon to change colors from time to time, especially after volcanic eruptions or brush fires, sending soot and ash into the atmosphere and making the face of the moon appear bluish or even lavender.

Spectacular! What a fun excuse to drag your kids outside and celebrate the unofficial end of summer. And viewing instructions could not be simpler:

Wait for it to get dark.

Go outside.

Look up.

Go make tea and cookies (optional).

Are you a star-gazer? Have you ever seen a blue moon?


Image via tonynetone/Flickr

astronomy

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Punky... Punkylu78

Love it! Our oldest two kids love the moon so I will make sure to get them outside for both moons! :)

fleur... fleurdelys3110

You do realize that the moon is not actually blue, and that this will happen again in July 2015? Do your research before you post.

Michelle Holley-Palmertree

Thanks. I'll be watching.

@fluerdelys3110: Well, la-de-da. Aren't you just all knowing and stuff. I don't remember reading anywhere in this article where it said the moon is actually blue or when it happens again. Go poop or something, I think you may be constipated and suffering extreme crabbiness because of it. =)

Rebecca Boyd

I think someone miscalculated or was told wrong:



Using the Farmers' Almanac definition of blue moon (meaning the third full moon in a season of four full moons), blue moons occur



  • November 21, 2010

  • August 21, 2013

  • May 21, 2016


Note that by this definition the months of July, August, and September in 2012 contain four full moons, and August 2012 has two full moons. However, the period from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox in 2012 contains only three full moons, as the September 2012 full moon comes after the equinox. Similarly, the December full moon in 2012 comes after the solstice. Thus calendar 2012 has 13 full moons including two in August, yet it contains no blue moon.


It seems that The Farmers Almanac, even though it describes the Sky & Telescope 'invention' of the new definition, is now using the new definition of blue moon on it's calendar [14], therefore indicating that the blue moon is August 31, 2012 instead of August 21, 2013.


endelia endelia

Argggggg it is August already what happened to July I guess it was so hot it melted away. I cant wait to see the blue moon how cool.going crazy


 

Jocelyn Amber Potts

@fleurdelys3110
You did read the entire article, right?
"Two full moons in one month aren't exactly rare or uncommon -- it happens every three years or so."

If my calculations are correct, three years from now happens to BE 2015.

nonmember avatar BLeeK

"The Huffington Post basically wrote an astronomical lecture on the many different theories as to how the Blue Moon got its name. But I'll spare you all that and tell you it's basically because the second moon of the month looks bluish when you stare at it. Some farmers early in this century came up with that idea."

I was married on a blue moon in 2004, and no the moon does not look blue it is just the name they give to it. Any moon can look blue, or any other color, depending on what is happening in the atmosphere.

Cathie Woelfel

fleurdelys3110 why don't you go back and read the article next time before you make snippy comments....it was clearly stated that "Two full moons in one month aren't exactly rare or uncommon -- it happens every three years or so. Still, very cool." It also clearly stated that the reason the name came around was because if you stare at the moon it can look bluish.

mamivon2 mamivon2

well lets hope I see it.. sounds cool

banan... banana-bear

Am I the only one who thought of The Smurfs? Haha! Kid movies...ingrained in my mind.

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