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Blue Moon: Facts you should know

Last Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:45

Zee Media Bureau/Ritu Singh

If you had gazed up at the sky on Tuesday night you might have witnessed a real delight in the form of a Blue Moon. This rare special event was one of it’s kind because it won’t be taking place until 2015.

Well,some facts that you need to know about this rare astronomical occasion is right here:

What is a Blue Moon?

A Blue Moon occurs when two full moons fall in the same month. The second of the two is referred to as the `Blue Moon`. It happens because sometimes the number of days in a calendar month are greater than the cycle of the moon, which is 29.5 days. This can cause the moon to rise twice in one month, near the first and the last days of the same month.

Is it really blue?

Blue Moon`s name actually has nothing to do with color. A Blue Moon is not really blue. It looks just like every other full Moon - reddish as it rises due to light being scattered in our atmosphere and whitish-yellow overhead at midnight.

The moon can appear blue in color if a forest fire or volcanic eruption litters the upper atmosphere with ash or smoke. The last one appeared over Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1950 and was due to moon light travelling through a cloud of particles from forest fires in Canada.

Know the many names of Blue moon

Tuesday`s full moon is also known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Green Corn Moon, the Grain Moon and the Full Red Moon. Each of the August full moon names come from monikers given to the full moons of a certain month according to Native American and European traditions.

It is only full for a moment:

Although the moon usually looks full one day before and one day after the day of the full moon, there is technically only one moment when the moon is full in the sky.

Once in a Blue moon

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first reference to a blue moon comes from a proverb recorded in 1528: If they say the moon is blue, We must believe that it is true.

After Tuesday`s full moon, another Blue Moon will not occur again until 2015. The idiom "once in a Blue Moon" signifies a rare event because an actual Blue Moon only occurs about once every three years.

First Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:19
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