This August is a Blue Moon month, guaranteed to send sky-gazers outdoors to view a spectacular, rare sight and then back indoors to search for an explanation of what went wrong. Before you angrily type Why isnt the blue moon blue?! into your browser, read on.
Untangling Blue Moon folklore entails an understanding of Farmers Almanacs, seasonal lunar patterns, the duration of winter solstice, longitude and latitude, and the musings of some earnest but sorely mistaken amateur astronomers. In short, to define the historical meaning of a Blue Moon is to cross that thin line between theoretical complexity and eyelid-closing boredom. Let us just explain that it boils down to two competing definitions
http://living.msn.com/life-inspired/the … 2be5fa2907
I love full moons, but never saw a blue one
Ha! When I saw the title of this thread, I thought I would drop in and explain the differing traditions of the meaning of "Blue Moon." But it appears that the linked article explains it and adds some more info that is new to me.
For the benefit of anyone who doesn't want to follow the link: the current, common understanding of "Blue Moon" is that it is the second full moon in a single month (which usually has only one full moon). Because of the extra days each year beyond the number needed for 12 full moons, over time a single year has thirteen full moons.
The traditional meaning of Blue Moon was the second (according to the article) or third (according to Wikipedia) full moon in a quarter (a three-month period) which has four full moons instead of the usual three.
It was in a 1946 article in a Sky and Telescope calendar that this two-moons-in-a-month meaning first appeared in print, evidently based on a misunderstanding from an earlier Farmer's Almanac. And then in 1980, the radio program StarDate adopted this meaning and it has become increasingly widespread since that time.
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