Tonight on August 31, 2012 there will be a blue moon. When you hear the words “blue moon” you probably think of the beer, songs, or the phrase “once in a blue moon." We know what it means when people say that but have you ever wondered why people use that expression? And what is a blue moon? Below are three things you didn’t know about a blue moon.
What is a blue moon?
We have embraced the meaning of a blue moon to be when two full moons occur in one month. However, according to the Maine Farmers' Almanac this is not the true definition of the words. Sky and Telescope magazine stated, “We found that the Blue-Moon definition employed in the Maine Farmers' Almanac is indeed based on the seasons, but with some subtle twists.” According to Wikipedia, “A blue moon refers to the third full moon in a season with four full moons.”
Blue moons are not blue
A blue moon is not actually blue. And a blue moon does not necessarily have to be a full moon either. According to Wikipedia the moon may rarely appear blue because of smoke or dust particles in the air.
Where did the name blue moon come from?
A name blue moon derived from folklore. Folklorist Philip Hiscock, a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland traced the name blue moon. He discovered that in the Maine’s Famers Almanac full moons get their names from according to the season. “A moon that came too early had no folk name, and was called a blue moon, retaining the correct seasonal timings for future moons.”
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