"Once In A Blue Moon" There i said it!
Did anyone capture and pics of last nights full moon.. Really cloudy in Scotland last night.. Pictured.. The moon rises over Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England on July 30, 2015..The last time this happened was in 2012 and there isn’t due another until 2018,
So what is a "BLUE MOON"?.
Most definitions say that a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. This year, July’s first full moon was on the 2nd. Because there are 29.5 days between full moons (known as the lunar month), here we are again at full moon on 31st.
However, this definition is the result of a simplification made by amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett writing in the 3 March 1946 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. He wrote about blue moons, explaining that they occur seven times every 19 years because the lunar month is shorter than most of our familiar calendrical months. So sometimes there are 13 full moons in a year instead of 12. On these occasions, he concluded, “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.”
Simple but wrong. The term “blue moon” was introduced by the Maine Farmers’ Almanac, sometime after 1800. In their definition, the name was given to the third full moon in a season containing four. So, it could just as well be the first full moon in a month as the second.
We are probably familiar with the term “harvest moon”. This is the name given to the late September/early October full moon because it was said to light farmers’ fields allowing them to work into the night at harvest time.
In fact, all the full moons have names. They derive from the Native American Algonquin people. Aligned to the month they fall in, they are:
January: the Wolf Moon, February: the Snow Moon, March: the Worm Moon, April: the Pink Moon, May: the Flower Moon, June: the Strawberry Moon, July: the Buck Moon, August: the Sturgeon Moon, September: the Harvest Moon, October: the Hunter’s Moon, November: the Beaver Moon, December: the Cold Moon.
Because the last full moon of a season usually falls around the summer or winter solstice, or the spring or autumnal equinox, the blue moon slots in earlier to keep the sequence on track. Confused? Perhaps now we have some sympathy with Pruett’s definition. Indeed it has entered widespread use.
And what about that phrase ‘once in blue moon’. Many pieces covering tonight’s blue moon call it rare and say that it is where the famous phrase comes from.