Friday, August 3, 2012

What is a Blue Moon?

We've all heard the saying Once in a Blue Moon, but what is a Blue Moon?

Folklore has many explanations - the second full moon in a month, the third full moon in a season with four full moons, and some believe the Blue Moon has mystical powers.

Either way, a Blue Moon isn't actually blue in color - but when you add a night sky filled with moving clouds, it is definitely magical.

Last night was the first full moon of August and there will be another full moon on August 31, hence the Blue Moon. Since there is a full moon approximately every 29.5 days, seeing two full moons in one month is something quite special - something that doesn't happen but Once in a Blue Moon.

I did not crop this picture because I wanted to show just how bright the moon was. The sky was black with very few visible stars from where I was.  As each cloud pattern passed by the moon, the full moon illuminated them, creating shadows and depth - at times giving each cloud a silvery-blue cast.

Mother Nature has a way of creating some pretty amazing things and the Blue Moon is one of them. Be sure to watch for the second full moon this month, the "real" Blue Moon, on the 31st.

Oh, and if you think a Blue Moon is rare, just wait for 2018 when this phenomenon will happen not once, but Twice in a  Blue Moon. To learn more about the phases of the moon, visit the EarthSky website.

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