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Once in a Blue Moon

Updated on June 23, 2014

The Phenonema of a Blue Moon and other Rare Lunar Occurences

The Blue Moon is a fairly well-known event - a full moon that occurs rarely, at certain predicable times of the year. But which times? And is it really blue? And what is a wet moon?

Blue moons sound fantastical and unusual and are a common theme in song and story - Almost everyone will recognise this song "Blue moon... you saw me standing alone... without a dream in my heart... without a love of my own" were I to start crooning it, and there are probably half a dozen more 'blue moon songs! A quick search of your local library will pull up dozens of titles along the lines of "Once in a Blue Moon" or "Beyond the Blue Moon" or "Something of the Blue Moon"! Most of these seem to be romance, mystery or fantasy, in keeping with it's ''rare, mysterious and magical' theme!

Do check out the quiz - I had great fun writing it!

Floating- photograph of a full moon lighting up the clouds by =Flynn-the-cat
Floating- photograph of a full moon lighting up the clouds by =Flynn-the-cat

Have you ever seen a Blue Moon?

See results

What does 'Blue Moon' mean to you? - Do you use the Calendar or the Seasonal definition?

A blue moon to me is...

How Did It Go Wrong?

"In the July 1943 issue, on page 17, Laurence J. Lafleur (1907–1966) of Antioch College, Ohio, discussed Blue Moons in a question-and-answer column. He cited the 1937 Maine Farmer's Almanac as his source. Lafleur quoted the almanac August 1937 calendar page word for word. This commentary notes that the Moon occasionally "comes full thirteen times in a year. Lafleur didn't elaborate more.

The error began three years later. James Hug Pruett (1886–1955) wrote an article: "Once in a Blue Moon" for the March 1946 Sky & Telescope (page 3). Pruett was an amateur astronomer and a frequent contributor to Sky & Telescope.

In his Blue Moons article 1937 Maine Farmer's Almanac. He also repeated some of Lafleur's earlier comments. Unfortunately, he went on to say, "Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon."

"So I interpret it." It was a caveat. No one seemed to notice.

If was the first time anyone gave this definition. It was the first time the "wrong" answer was used."

Excerpt taken from source article: Blue Moons : James S Huggins

Blue Moon Videos - Watch some of the previous events!

Introspection - Full Moon Photo
Introspection - Full Moon Photo

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a Blue Moon is a phrase that means 'very rarely'

The expression dates back to mediaeval England. For example, a work by William Barlow, the Bishop of Chichester, the Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, 1528, (The first line of which may be more easily recognised... Rede me and be nott wrothe, For I say no things but trothe ) included this line:

"Yf they saye the mone is belewe, We must beleve that it is true."

Moon - closeup from Colours of the Imagination
Moon - closeup from Colours of the Imagination

Occasionally REAL blue moons have been observed, due to freak weather conditions or volcanic eruptions!

In 1883, the volcanic eruption at Krakatoa caused the moon to appear blue around the world for two years. Similar reports of people seeing blue moons occurred after eruptions at Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Blue Moon Books - Recognisable, mysterious and slightly romantic, its a popular title!

Guestbook - Leave a comment! MORE often than a blue moon rises!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Interesting lens. Missed some of the questions but it doesn't matter. Fun is present everywhere. Enjoyable:=)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Once in a blue moon, I go loony enough to get inspired to visit loony lenses! Or should I say, Moony lenses! :)

    • javr profile image


      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      100% here! This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Fascinating and beautifully done, you are very artistic! I'll be waiting, 454 days and is that up or down? lol1

    • KarenHC profile image


      8 years ago from U.S.

      I only got 60% correct -- I'd never heard of a "wet moon" before, but I like the definition. Interesting information here!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Fun and interesting lens. I guess I know more about the moon than I thought as I got a perfect score on your quiz.


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