August will be graced with two full moons
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Last Updated: Monday, July 30, 2012, 12:59
  
Washington: Full moon usually occurs only once in a month, but the month of August will brings us two full moons.

The first will be seen on Wednesday (Aug.1), and will be followed by a second on Aug. 31, LiveScience reported.

Some almanacs and calendars assert that when two full moons occur within a calendar month, the second full moon is called a “blue moon.”

The full moon that night will likely look no different than any other full moon. But the moon can change colour in certain conditions.

After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can appear to take on a bluish or even lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth's atmosphere, can sometimes make the moon appear bluish.

Smoke from widespread forest fire activity in western Canada created a blue moon across eastern North America in late September 1950. In the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991 there were reports of blue moons (and even blue suns) worldwide.

The phrase “once in a blue moon” was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, though not truly rare. Yet, to have two full moons in the same month is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, it occurs, on average, about every 2.66 years. And in the year 1999, it occurred twice in a span of just three months.

It was not until that “double blue moon year” of 1999 that the origin of the calendrical term “blue moon” was at long last discovered. It was during the time frame from 1932 through 1957 that the Maine Farmers' Almanac suggested that if one of the four seasons (winter, spring, summer or fall) contained four full moons instead of the usual three, that the third full moon should be called a blue moon.

But thanks to a couple of misinterpretations of this cryptic definition, first by a writer in a 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, and much later, in 1980 in a syndicated radio program, it now appears that the second full moon in a month is the one that's now popularly accepted as the definition of a blue moon.

This time around, the moon will turn full on Aug. 31 at 9:58 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (6:58 a.m. Pacific Standard Time), making it a blue moon.

However, there is an exception: for those living in the Kamchatka region of the Russian Far East as well as in New Zealand, that same full moon occurs after midnight, on the calendar date of Sept. 1. So in these regions of world, this will not be the second of two full moons in August, but the first of two full moons in September. So, if (for example) you reside in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky or Christchurch, you'll have to wait until September 30 to declare that the moon is “officially” blue.

The next time we will see two full moons in a single month comes in July 2015 (July 1 and 31).

ANI


First Published: Monday, July 30, 2012, 12:59


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