The Blue Moon

Blue Moon on August 31

The full moon of August 31st will be called  Blue Moon, not because it will look blue in colour but because it will be the second full moon in this month.

The term ‘Blue Moon’ in this form is rather a modern folklore popularized by astronomy writers to draw attention to the send full moon in a calendar month.

The interval between two full moons is about 29 and a half days which is just short of calendar month of 30 or 31 days. Thus normally we have only one full moon in a calendar month. But when a full moon occurs on the first of the month then the next full moon also takes place in the same month and this full moon is called the ‘Blue Moon’. February will never see a Blue Moon for even in the leap year it has only 29days.

(The time interval between two full moons is 29days 12hours, 44minutes and 38seconds)
(the calendar that we use is a Gregorian Calendar)

A particular place will have a Blue Moon or not, will be determined by its time zone. The exact time of August 31st 2012 full moon to the nearest minute is 7:28 p.m. IST.

Nearly everywhere across the world it will be the Blue Moon day on 31st Aug.  But for places like Auckland or Wellington in New Zealand which are in time zone +12 it will be the 1st of September. These cities will ‘have’ the Blue Moon on 30th of September.

On an average we have a Blue Moon every about two and half years.  The last one was on March 30, 2010 (month with 30days).

As we had good rains in many parts across the country the rising full moon of August 31st, soon after the sunset should offer a good viewing pleasure.
Rains would have washed away the floating dust in the atmosphere and the Moon should look bright and soothing to the eyes.

The ‘Blue Moon’ did exist in other context such as by ‘once in a blue moon’ we indicate a rare event or happening.  Then there have been references of the full moon with blue hue when viewed through the smoke of forest fires or through ashes of irrupting volcanoes.

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About skytonight

I am the present Director of Nehru Planetarium of Nehru Centre Mumbai, India I like to talk about astronomy and sky observations to general public.
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One Response to The Blue Moon

  1. I’m not positive where you are getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time finding out much more or working out more. Thanks for magnificent info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

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