What Is A Blue Moon?

Nearly everyone has used the term Blue Moon at some point but you may not know that it is an actual rare event that does occur. Blue Moon has been given three different meanings. The first is just a common phrase that just refers to an uncommon event that has nothing to do with the moon at all.

Another is simply a description of the color of the moon which is rarely blue but frequently yellow.

Folklore gives meaning to the moons too. The oldest blue moon definition is for the extra moon that presents itself in the quarter of the year that would normally offer three full moons but occasionally has four. Randomly, it is actually the third full moon in the season that houses four. The "extra" moon is the "blue" moon.

So can a moon be blue?

Various Blue Moons

Visible Blue Moons

The most well known Blue Moons do not necessarily refer to a full moon but rather to a moon that actually appears blue. This is a very rare event. The blue effect can be a result of dust particles or smoke in the atmosphere. Viewers witnessed such a spectacular sight in Sweden in 1950 after massive forest fires and again in Canada in 1951 when Alberta's forests blazed violently. In 1883, the eruption of Krakatoa caused the moon to appear to be blue for almost two years.

Calender Blue Moons

On the Gregorian calender many people call a full moon a Blue Moon. According to this term, the second full moon in the calender month is the Blue Moon. Calender Blue Moons do not occur too frequently so using the term to refer to a rare event still holds its meaning. One Blue Moon occurs on a calender every 2.72 years. The last Blue Moon that occurred was December 31, 2009.

Farmer's Almanac

According to the Maine Farmer's Almanac, Blue Moon refers to the third full moon that falls in a quarter of the year where there are four. This meaning was retired with the death of the original Farmer's Almanac.

Future Blue Moons

2012: August 31

Now the next time you use the phrase, "Once in a Blue Moon," you know where the meaning comes from.


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Comments 53 comments

kowality profile image

kowality 6 years ago from Everywhere

Your Hub sent shivers down my spine. I'll tell you why. These pics are insanely beautiful. I love how the Moon just hangs there like the DaVinci it is and wolves have always been my most favorite untouchable creature. Hippi..just brings it to us in a very unique way. A telescope is on my wish list!

ahhOOOoooooo


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Love love love the photos! Anything at all to do with the moon, of the moon, about the moon, pictures of the moon. Maybe because I am a moon child. I love the term the blue moon.

Thanks so much for an informative hub. Rated up!


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Love this hub, I got married once on a blue moon and it lasted for 2 months, LOL so yes, I know what a blue moon is...and I will never leave the house during one HA! Great hub, thanks my friend


thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

beautiful hub work its great reading thanks


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

kowality - I'm glad you enjoyed...You know I LOVE wolves..have you read my Gray Wolves hub? I too want a telescope!!! Santa maybe?

BkCreative - I just knew you would enjoy this hub because you are so into natural healing and energy it just makes sense you would enjoy the moon. Such an uncontrollable object.

Darlene - lol...must put on a list...do not marry on a Blue Moon. So funny!

thevoice - Thanks so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed!! :)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

theherbivorehippi, This is JAW dropping. I want that picture to look at every night as I fall to sleep. It is by far the most amazing peace of art I have seen in a long time. Plus I LOVE the MOON! Great hub I rate it UP and call it a Must READ! Thanks and Peace ;)


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

It's like once in a blue moon do I see a hub as nice as this one!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

katiem2 - Thank you for the rating and comment! Glad you enjoyed.

Micky Dee - AWE...lol You're so sweet. Thank you!


GALAXY 59 profile image

GALAXY 59 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Such wonderful pictures, I love the wolf-simply breathtaking. I had never really thought about the term blue moon, so it was a very informative hub too. Good work.


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Very nice hub - that wolf howling in the blue moon is precious.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Galaxy 59 - Isn't it bizarre that we use terms and have no idea where they came from or that they actually mean something? lol

billyaustindillon - Thank you1 Yes...I LOVE the blue moon photo!!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

good hub, and excellent information, now I know, my mother usually tell me, that I only remember her once in a blue moon, she is just trying to be sentimental, heh, and it is mothers day so I will remember it. The blue moon image is so beautiful, Thank you herbivorehippi, Maita


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Thanks for coming by and reading and commenting! :)


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Loved the wolf and the blue moon. Captivating picture; good read.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Thank you!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Love it - thanks for the info - we actually wanted to name Griffin officially Blue Moon but his breeder wanted that name down the road....oh well (Mr. Moonlight) the Griffin didn't mind....still love that blue moon!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Wonderful hub. Very interesting.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

akirchner - That is so crazy you were going to name Griffin that! Dang breeder! lol I love Griffin though..it makes my think of mythological Gryphon! lol

Sandyspider - Thanks so much for reading!!


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

okay this is awesome, now I know. wow, and to think that we use that phrase all teh time... we probably don't even relize we do.

PS in answer to the hubpages blog, sunforged was highlighted a few months back... i think he still has the link up on his profile.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

I know right? I've been saying that since as far back as I could remember and I'm pretty sure my mom and my grandma said it too! lol Thanks for the info on the blog! Definitely will be checking it out!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Great hub. Beautiful pictures


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Thanks so much!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Herbivorehippi, greetings from the carnivorousmeathead LOL. I liked this hub! We use many sayings that come from somewhere and give little thought, this is a good example. Combined with the photo of the howling blue moon it is great. Being in the wide open spaces sans light pollution just laying around in the dirt with the dogs the sky is quite beautiful in the dark. I found a place that contracts with Sams Club and gets their returns or display items, so I was there and nabbed a Mead LX200 telescope for a 75 dollar bill, it was missing the 2x Barlo that another 25 dollars bought. It's got an on board computer that tracks and you can program what you want to see after getting it set up and oriented, pain in the butt, it works pretty good with the hand held motor control to aim it. It has so many bells and whistles I'll never use. It is cool to be able to zoom in on the moon and other stuff. It says it has 145000 programmed things to look at. I've only set it up twice so it would seek and follow. I got to see the shuttle pass over one night. I just need to get a digital camera that mates with it to make a picto-hub of the celestial cool stuff. I need to drag it out, I just need to figure out how to use it laying down, it would be more fun than stooping for a couple hours at a time. Good hub!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Oooooh I'm dying to get a really good telescope!!! Yours sounds a bit too intimidating for me though! lol


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 6 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Great collection of Hubs, I am looking forward seeing the next blue moon on November 21...


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

I know me too!! I will definitely be outside watching for it!


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

Wow, I want to see the blue moon that looks like one of these photos...however, if a volcanic eruption or terrible fire is needed I guess I'll skip it.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

yeah me too!! I can't even imagine seeing a moon that looks like that!


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Blue Moon is the fans song for my fav team Manchester City because they play in blue, so I gotta love a Blue Moon ; )


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

lol....well of course!! Only makes sense!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Wonderful pics! I'm a moonchild (Cancer), by the way!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Of course you are a moon!! The good ones always are. Sadly I am a sun. Sniffle sniffle...had I been on time a couple days earlier I would have been a moon! This taught me to always be on time. lol


teenmusicscene profile image

teenmusicscene 6 years ago from Texas

I can't remember ever seeing a blue moon but this is interesting.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

This is interesting. I didn't know there was actually a blue moon. I thought we just used it in phrase "once in a Blue moon". I'm looking forward to November 21 and hope to get good photo's of it.

Thanks. :)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

theherbivorehippi, I was thinking looking at the moon the other night about something my grandma always said, she would say, "Once in a Blue Moon" Just had to come and share that. Thanks and Peace :)


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

lol my mom and my grandma both used to say it!! thanks for sharing that! :)


dealrocker profile image

dealrocker 6 years ago from California

This hub caught my attention and forced me to read thoroughly. What a concept. Hope the moon appears blue in 2012, on my birthday, Aug 31. Ahh... Anxiously waiting for the day. Lovely hub. Liked your other hubs too. Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine.:)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Just goes to show you. Interesting. We once experienced a red moon when visitng Zante. The Greek locals thought it held a specially romantic appeal. They would I guess :)


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

dealrocker - ooooh how lucky are you that you get a blue moon on your birthday!!! Love it!

ethel - A red moon? That just sounds magical!! Of course the Greeks would make it romantic! I will have to look a red moon up!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

This is a very interesting topic and you wrote about it very well. I love the song "Blue Moon" by the Mavericks. Thanks.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

lol...Oh my gosh...LOVE the song too! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub James!


4FoodSafety profile image

4FoodSafety 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

There is an amazing yacht called the Blue Moon - I googled the term many years ago - you did a wonderful job. The photos are stunning! Excellent Hub!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Ooooh..I just looked up the Blue Moon yacht..it is gorgeous!!


MFB III profile image

MFB III 6 years ago from United States

And now I know the true story, I used to htink a blue moon was what many an ill dressed cave man encountered while dropping his drawers on a snowy day to answer natures call...LOL---Great write.~~~~MFB III


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Lmao...you are brilliant!!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

a blue moon or earthly funk is what I frequently get when I do not drop by your hubs on a religious daily basis .....and reap a little bit of what you sow!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI Author

Well...what a charming comment! lol Thank you!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

I have never seen a blue moon in my own lifetime but I enjoyed your definitions :-) It has always intrigued me why the moon does not rotate and always presents us with the exactly the same face?

Thumbs up !


TheVacationLady profile image

TheVacationLady 6 years ago from Everywhere

This is fascinating. I have heard and used this term dozens of times but have never given much thought to what it actually meant. Great hub and gorgeous pictures!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, wow so we are going to get one on the 21 November? now that will be something to see! thanks this was really interesting, cheers nell


Computer Guy profile image

Computer Guy 5 years ago from Indianapolis IN

Great topic: I did know about the blue moon which happens when the full moon appears twice in one month. The other blue moons I didn't know about. Cool stuff.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..another very nice topic as chosen and explained by you - I am fortunate enough to view moons of all colors, shapes and sizes throughout the year as I live on the lakefront here in Ontario on the northern shores of Lake Erie.


william.fischer29 profile image

william.fischer29 5 years ago

This is awesome hub. Thanks.

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