Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Once-in-a-blue-moon event is not really blue

According to David Wilton’s fabulous Word Origins web site, the phrase Blue Moon probably started with an anonymous poem from 1528, Read me and be not wrothe, For I say no things but truth:
"If they say the moon is blue,
"We must believe that it is true."

From LiveSciences

You're in luck if you've been waiting to spy a blue moon hovering in our skies.
August heavens will be graced with two full moons, the first on Aug. 1, and the second Aug. 31, with this glowing sphere often labeled a blue moon.

If you miss this one, when is the next blue moon?
You'll have to wait three years for the next blue moon, expected on July 31, 2015.

Earth's only satellite, however, will look like it normally does on any other night.
Even so, August's second full moon is considered relatively rare, though two full moons in one month occurs on average every 2.66 years.

The lunar month lasts about 29.5 days, or the time it takes to circle once around Earth, during which time it goes through all of its phases, from new moon to full moon to new moon (when the moon is between Earth and the sun).
We see the moon because of sunlight reflecting off its surface, and as it travels around our planet we see different amounts of its sunlit side.
During a full moon, that means we are seeing the full sunlit face of the moon.

Usually months have only one of these full moons, but since Earthly months are 30 or 31 days long, it's possible to sneak in two full moons in one of these calendar months.

A blue-hued moon isn't unheard of, nor is a green-colored one.
In 1883, the Indonesian volcano named Krakatoa erupted, sending plumes of ash high into the atmosphere.
Some of the ash-clouds were filled with particles just the right size to strongly scatter red light, while allowing other colors to pass, according to NASA.
White moonbeams shining through the clouds emerged blue, and sometimes green, NASA writes on their website.

Links :
  • Space : How 2012's full moons got their strange names
  • EarthSky : When is the next Blue Moon?

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