Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon...

Tonight, New Year's Eve will be a "blue moon"- the so called blue moon isn't blue at all, but rather the second full moon in a month.... (the first full moon was on Dec 2 and it will appear again tonight).

It will be visible in Canada, the US, Europe, South America & Africa. - In Australia & Asia, the full moon won't appear until Jan 1, so later in January will be their "blue moon."

A full moon averages every 29.5 days and for the most part, each month has 1 full moon. Although, every 2.5 years, it catches up with the numbers and one month has 2 full moons. The last "Blue moon was in May 2007."

New Year's Eve Blue Moons - are rare and occur only every 19 years! (The last time was in 1990).

Blue moons - are simply a name - not derived from the color of the moon. Interestingly, the term full moon became popular in 1946 when a writer for Sky & Telescope magazine made a mistake and defined blue moon as the second full moon in a month.
Technically, the Maine's Farmer's Almanac defines a blue moon as a third full moon in a season of 4 full moons. But, the error caught on! And a full moon is spoken about as the second full moon in a month.
Also, some purists don't believe that the NYE full moon even qualifies as a blue moon and they believe it is the first full moon of the winter season. Definitions are open to interpretation - whether you follow a monthly (by calendar) or seasonally way of tracking the moon.

Each full moon of the year has a name attached to it and there is no agreement on those names either! It is really regional and can be based on religious beliefs.

The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is generally agreed upon as the Harvest Moon.

The full moon closest to the Winter Solstice (Dec 21, 22) is called - the Yule Moon, Cold Moon, Frost Moon or Christmas Moon

The first full moon of the year is called the Wolf Moon.

The second full moon of the year is called the Ice Moon or Snow Moon.

The March moon is called the Storm Moon or Worm Moon or Sap Moon or even Crow Moon, (sometimes the Lenten Moon).

The April moon is called the Growing Moon or the Planting Moon or the Egg Moon. (Sometimes due to weather patterns it is called the Rainy Moon). In the Northwest it is called the Fish Moon. But, if the moon is full after April 21, it is called the Easter moon.

The May moon is called the Flower Moon, Milk Moon, Hare Moon.

The June moon goes by The Strawberry Moon, in Europe is called the Rose Moon.

The July Moon is often called the Buck Moon, the Hay Moon or the Thunder Moon.

The August Moon is called the Hot Moon, the Grain Moon, the Dog Moon.

The September moon (if not named for the Equinox) is called the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon or the Elk Moon.

The October moon is called the Harvest Moon.

The full moon in November is called the Snow Moon or Frost moon the further north you live, unless that is the name for the December moon. In which case, it is called Beaver Moon.

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