Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blue Moon Wednesday

Hi all:

Here's your friendly reminder that the second full moon this month occurs at 9:04 p.m. EST Wednesday May 31. Space.com has posted a neat history and explanation of why the expression "once in a blue moon" isn't as meaningful as we think.

Here's a snippet of Joe Rao's article:

The phrase "Once in a blue Moon" was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, though not truly rare. Yet, to have two full Moons in the same month is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, it occurs, on average, about every 32 months. And in the year 1999, it occurred twice in a span of just three months!

For the longest time no one seemed to have a clue as to where the "Blue Moon Rule" originated. Many years ago in the pages of Natural History magazine, I speculated that the rule might have evolved out of the fact that the word "belewe" came from the Old English, meaning, "to betray." "Perhaps," I suggested, "the second full Moon is 'belewe' because it betrays the usual perception of one full moon per month."

But as innovative as my explanation was, it turned out to be completely wrong ...

Rao also discusses what natural phenomena can make the moon actually turn blue. Read the rest of the article here.

In any case, enjoy the full blue moon!


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