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"Blue Moon" Appears in Sky Saturday Night

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the blue-moon-you-saw-me-standing-alone dept.

Space 154

ArbiterOne writes "Tonight a rare spectacle can be seen: the second full moon in a month, which is sometimes called the "blue moon", according to CNN. Don't be disappointed if it isn't actually blue, though; the blueness is caused by increased density of smoke or ash in the air, such as after a volcanic eruption."

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Not all that rare (5, Interesting)

PlazMatiC (11127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9851980)

It's not that much of a rare occurrance .. Once every 2.7 years [google.com] , even.

Re:Not all that rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852058)

did you fail math 101? read it again, its 1/blue moon = 2.71 years, therefore its 134.4 days.

Re:Not all that rare (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852099)

Once in a blue moon refers to frequency, not time.

1 * once in a blue moon = 1.16699016 × 10-08 hertz [google.com]

1 / frequency = time.

Re:Not all that rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852242)

I have a calendar for lunar months [blibbleblobble.co.uk] if anyone's interested.

The "second in a month" definition for blue moons is obviously going to cause a hot debate here, but if you're interested in the 'original' definition, then 28th september will be the blue moon (4th full moon in a quarter (this quarter = jun,jul,sep)) and today would be the full Sturgeon moon.

Next blue moon is 2007, either on 31 May or 29 June depending on definition.

OJW

Re:Not all that rare (3, Interesting)

Orinthe (680210) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852317)

I don't know where this google calculator gets its numbers from, but blue moons are actually twice as common as it implies.

There are approximately 13 lunar cycles in a year, and 12 months. Simple math should be able to tell you that there must be a blue moon on average at least once a year--rarely two, and rarely none. In fact, over the next 20 years, 17 will have blue moons [infoplease.com] .

That's about every 1.2 years.

Re:Not all that rare (4, Informative)

swimboy (30943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852472)

The moon's cycle is about 29.5 days, which makes about 12.4 full moons a year. That means a blue moon about every 3 years.

The 17 blue moons in 20 years is due to two different definitions of what constitutes a blue moon. So, blue moons are twice as common, because there are two different ways to define what a blue moon is!

Re:Not all that rare (2, Informative)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852522)

The lunar cycle is 29.5 days long on average, not 28. That gives about 12.4 full moons per year, on average.

I don't know how infoplease.com counted blue moons to get 17 in the next twenty years, unless it was counting both the 2nd-in-a-month and the 4th-in-a-season varieties. Ask this blue moon calculator [obliquity.com] to list the blue moons between 2004 and 2024, and it lists nine of them (of the 2nd-in-a-month kind).

That's about every 2.2 years.

i don't know about anyone else (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9851981)

but i'm quite fucking disapointed.

This is Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852095)

get used to it. Here, it's a daily occurrence.

Global Warming... (0, Troll)

rufu (790152) | more than 10 years ago | (#9851982)

I've got a feeling that these are going to get a lot more common in the future

Re:Global Warming... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852056)

Yes, not only will global warming cause the seas to rise, polar caps, to melt, cause general destruction to the whole planet...

It will cause the moon to obit the earth faster and produce more full moons.

Congrats, you may be the dumbest person ever on slashdot. And believe me, that's saying something.

Re:Global Warming... (0, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852066)

WTF are you talking about? I mean put down the crack pipe.

Re:Global Warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852074)

Mod parent insightful.

Re:Global Warming... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852082)

Mod parent : "Stupid"

Re:Global Warming... (-1, Offtopic)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852101)

Mod -1 RETARDED!

Re:Global Warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852248)

It's not redundant when the OP is in fact stupid and no one had modded HIM as such.

Re:Global Warming... (1)

cuzality (696718) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852166)

In that case, we can thank the sun [bbc.co.uk] for all the blue moons:

BBC: Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.

Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past.

They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer.

Re:Global Warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852302)

Well, obviously -- not only does global warming cause more full moons, it also causes sunspots. I suspect it also plays a role in asteroid imapacts.

Re:Global Warming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852455)

How can anyone talk about anything global without a concept of how our globe orbits the sun and how the moon orbits the earth?

ARgh! (4, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 10 years ago | (#9851983)

Now I have to do all that stuff I told everyone I would only do when the moon turns blue. *sigh*

Rare? (5, Interesting)

MaelstromX (739241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9851984)

From TFA:

The phrase "Once in a blue moon" was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, perhaps even 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 actually occurred twice in three months.

Re:Rare? (4, Informative)

severoon (536737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852029)

I heard that the adoption of the term blue moon in modern usage actually stems from a misappropriation of the term from some Native American tribe (around the time frame you mention, early 19th C). The term, as far as my uninformed and caffeine-addled mind can conjure at the moment, originally referred to an occurrence of a particular full moon that occurred during the three-month harvest season; specifically, when four moons occurred during this three month season, the third of the sequence was called a "blue moon". (The Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] seems to make reference to this--see the second entry--but I can't find anything specific on it. Also, it doesn't seem to mention the "harvest" season, just any season, which is not what I heard from my unreliable source.)

This is why our concept of blue moon as the second in a month doesn't seem to make sense in terms of rarity...it's not that rare. It makes a bit more sense if we consider how often four moons occur during the three month harvest season. That was probably quite a bit more rare.

Re:Rare? (5, Informative)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852155)

Here [com.com] is a really good explanation of the background on our current definition of a "Blue Moon" which seems to have been popularized by none other than Trivial Persuit.

On July 31 of this year, those taking an evening stroll beneath a cloudless sky will have the opportunity to look up and see what modern folklore refers to as a "blue moon." Though the moon itself will not actually be blue--or likely even appear blue--it will be the second full moon in the same calendar month of July, which is what qualifies this Saturday's lunar view as a blue moon, at least by today's standards.

That's not to say that the moon has never appeared blue in color to the average, unaided, ground-bound observer. The moon can and has shone blue or even green in color whenever a sufficient quantity of micron-sized particulates is present in the atmosphere, usually after a volcanic eruption.

The micron-sized debris (specifically, any particles slightly larger than the wavelength of red light, about 0.7 microns) refracts the moonlight, turning it green or blue, based on certain atmospheric factors. For an example of this phenomenon, one need look no further than accounts of blue moons following the eruption of the island of Krakatau in 1883.

While instances of actual blue-tinted moons represent one of several documented meanings of the term, using blue moon to describe the second full moon in one calendar month is a fairly recent practice. This definition arose in the 20th century, and it didn't really become part of the widespread public consciousness until the 1980s.

We can attribute this sudden proliferation of a previously undocumented and unused definition for blue moon to three otherwise reputable sources of fine information and fun trivia, all of which were working off bad information.

WHAT THREE MASS-MEDIA TRIVIA SOURCES ARE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEWEST DEFINITION OF A "BLUE MOON"?

What three reputable mass-media trivia resources are most responsible for the current popular definition of a "blue moon" to mean the second full moon in the same calendar month, and what is the likely origin of this "mistaken" definition?

The most recent and most widely known source of the "new" blue moon definition is none other than the king daddy of all trivia board games, Trivial Pursuit. Specifically, the Trivial Pursuit Genus II edition published in 1986 included this definition as a question in the Science and Nature category.

Given the popularity of the game, it's little wonder that folklorists witnessed this definition enter widespread usage in the 1980s. But where did the game makers get their information?

Trivial Pursuit archives (yes, they exist) cite The Kids' World Almanac of Records and Facts, published in 1985, as the source of the question. The book's authors, however, can't trace their own source for this "fact."

So where did the Almanac authors get it? Folklorist Philip Hiscock suggests it came from our second mass-media source.

In January 1980, the National Public Radio (NPR) program "Star Date" featured a piece by Deborah Byrd that noted the "second full moon in one calendar month" definition of blue moon. Byrd cited a 1946 article in Sky & Telescope magazine as her source. Hiscock considers the "Star Date" broadcast as the likely source of the Almanac entry, and thus NPR is the second mass-media source to get blue moon "wrong."

The third, obviously, is the usually reliable Sky & Telescope magazine. A March 1946 article by amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett titled "Once in a Blue Moon" contains the modern definition of the term, but it cites the 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac as its source. No edition of that Almanac, however, contains the modern definition of a blue moon.

Several editions of the Almanac do list a different definition of a blue moon--the third, extra full moon of an agricultural season. The Maine Farmers' Almanacs of that era used a convoluted planting calendar that followed the lunar cycle that included three "named" full moons, such as the Harvest Moon, per season.

When the lunar cycle added an extra, "nameless" full moon to a season, it called that moon a "blue moon." A 1943 issue of Sky & Telescope correctly cited this strange definition in an article by Laurence J. Lafleur.

Pruett's 1946 article quotes Lafleur's 1943 comments, but he misinterprets the definition to mean an "extra" full moon in one month, not one season. And so began a chain of citation that led to our current definition of a blue moon appearing in Trivial Pursuit, and thus cementing its status in the public consciousness--and Geek Trivia history.

Re:Rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852252)

MOD PARENT UP

Re:Rare? (4, Informative)

srleffler (721400) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852389)

Sky and Telescope has published an article more recently, explaining what happened and their role in it. It is available online [skyandtelescope.com] .

Re:Rare? (1)

andrewdski (797069) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852513)

This is an interesting article. There is more to blue moons than I realized.

It was particularly interesting to me since I just saw Tom Skilling (a Chicago television meteorologist) describe how two blue moons in a month was the wrong definition and four in a season is correct. He even mentioned the 1946 Sky and Telescope article as the reason for the confusion.

I suspect he read this later Sky and Telescope article, but reading it I realize that even his "correction" is bit of an over-simplification.

It makes me want to go back to defining a blue moon as a very rare event involving dust, etc. in the atmosphere and the moon actually appearing to be blue.

Re:Rare? (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852261)

The reason I always thought is each of 12 moons has a name like "Harvest Moon," "Hunter's Moon" and the like. But when a month occurs that contains 2 full moons, there is no name for this second moon and it was given the name, "Blue Moon." for lack of a name.

Re:Rare? (1)

srleffler (721400) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852417)

This is almost right, but the way the names of the moons were assigned was more complicated than this. The names were assigned based on the seasons, with three named full moons per season. If a season had four full moons, the extra one had no assigned name and was called a "blue" moon. This is not necessarily the second full moon in a month, however, nor was the "blue" moon necessarily the last one in the season. They had some scheme for figuring out which of the moons got which name. The modern connection with the second full moon in a month arose due to an error, as explained by the grandparent article.

Re:Rare? (1)

no_space_in_time (748336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852501)

I'm a guy, what do I know about 28 day cycles ;) ?

Re:Rare? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852108)

But calling two full moons in one month a 'blue moon' first happened in about the 1920s when the Farmer's Almanac gave each full moon of the year a special name. The event of a double full moon was called a blue moon. Later (around 1985) Trival pursuit made it this into a question and this usage became popular.

Re:Rare? (1)

motogp_fan (718571) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852186)

Whoooohoooo! I'm gonna get lucky tonight!

Various definitions (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852235)

Of there is the blue moon which comes from volcanic dust [skyandtelescope.com] .

The definition of two full moons in a month is now "correct" due to common usage. The urban legend has now become fact.

Apparently the earlier definition has to due with the oocurance of two full moons in a season. This ties in with the supposed American indian names from the colonial era [farmersalmanac.com] . (note that the several thousand indian tribes would likely have a variety of names, IF they bothered to name them) This is actually more closely related to the European system of moon names, from which we get things like "harvest moon", or the Pascal moon (before Easter) (More on which below)

There is this Folklore of the "Blue Moon" [griffithobs.org] article An informative acticle is the Nasa Science Article on the subject [nasa.gov] , which traces the current usage to an old article in a 1946 Sky and Telescope Magazine.

Sky And Telescope has their own article on the subject [skyandtelescope.com] , including their own mea culpa here: What's a Blue Moon? -- from Sky & Telescope [skyandtelescope.com] . Describes how a 53-yr old mistake by Sky and Telescope propagated the modern definition of "Blue Moon."

In an article "Once in a Blue Moon", folklorist Philip Hiscock traced the calendrical meaning of the term "Blue Moon" to the Maine Farmers' Almanac for 1937. But a page from that almanac belies the second-full-Moon-in-a-month interpretation. With help from Margaret Vaverek (Southwest Texas State University) and several other librarians, we have now obtained more than 40 editions of the Maine Farmers' Almanac from the period 1819 to 1962. These refer to more than a dozen Blue Moons, and not one of them is the second full Moon in a month. What's going on here? [...]

The almanac also follows certain rules laid down as part of the Gregorian calendar reform in 1582. The ecclesiastical vernal (spring) equinox always falls on March 21st, regardless of the position of the Sun. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter, and must contain the Lenten Moon, considered to be the last full Moon of winter. The first full Moon of spring is called the Egg Moon (or Easter Moon, or Paschal Moon) and must fall within the week before Easter.

At last we have the "Maine rule" for Blue Moons: Seasonal Moon names are assigned near the spring equinox in accordance with the ecclesiastical rules for determining the dates of Easter and Lent. The beginnings of summer, fall, and winter are determined by the dynamical mean Sun. When a season contains four full Moons, the third is called a Blue Moon.

Why is the third full Moon identified as the extra one in a season with four? Because only then will the names of the other full Moons, such as the Moon Before Yule and the Moon After Yule, fall at the proper times relative to the solstices and equinoxes.

How it spread ..... (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852344)

widespread adoption of the second-full-Moon-in-a-month definition followed its use on the popular radio program StarDate [stardate.org] on January 31, 1980. We examined this show's script, authored by Deborah Byrd, and found that it contains a footnote not read on the air that cites Pruett's 1946 article as the source for the information. Byrd now writes for the radio program Earth & Sky [earthsky.com] , whose Web site contains a few short notes giving her perspective on this modern contribution to lunar folklore.

Blue, where is that coming from? (1)

matgorb (562145) | more than 10 years ago | (#9851996)

This looked weird, so I googled it. http://www.griffithobs.org/IPSBlueMoon.html I wonder if I'll be able to see it given the fact that i am in Scotland an clouds are everywhere.

Re:Blue, where is that coming from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852459)

Don't you mean MacLeods are everywhere?

viva Highlander.

Re:Blue, where is that coming from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852557)

MacLeods in the skye?

rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9851998)

from my understanding blue moons are not actually all that rare ... with the frequency of the cycle having two full moons in the same calender month happens once a year or so given that we don't follow the lunar calender ... am i wrong about this?

*disclaimer*

(been up all night, haven't done the research before posting, blame me later)

This occured just 90 days after... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852000)

...the moon switched over to Windows ME. Even that stupid asteroid from Armageddon knows not to run ME.

Once in a Blue Moon (4, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852005)


Neat! Maybe that means my askslashdot submission will be accepted!

two full moons not originally "blue moon" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852009)

A "blue moon" is not when there are two full moons in a month. It is when the moon actually turns a shade of blue.

This is caused by ash or other particles in the air and the light reflecting from the moon is filtered through said air and is 'tinted'.

Every so often you see a "red moon" when the moon is close to the horizon. The refraction of the light traveling through the atmosphere makes it appear red.

At least the above was the original definition of "blue moon". Over the years the definition has changed to mean three things [wikipedia.org] . One of which is the two full moons. The later definitions were created more out of ignorance.

Re:two full moons not originally "blue moon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852189)

"Every so often you see a "red moon" when the moon is close to the horizon. The refraction of the light traveling through the atmosphere makes it appear red."

Every rising and setting, in fact.

Rare? (4, Interesting)

Finuvir (596566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852014)

We see a full moon every 28 days. So a month with 31 days will have a blue moon if it has a full moon in the first three days. The chance of that is 3/28. The chance of a blue moon in a 30-day month is 2/28. There are 7 31-day months, 4 30-day months. So chance of no blue moon in a year (treating the months as independent of each other which obviously isn't the case but shouldn't affect the outcome) is (25/28)^7 * (26/28)^4 which is about 43.4%. So there's a 56.6% chance of a blue moon in any year.

Re:Rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852065)

Except that we actually see a full moon about every 29.5 days. Thus it is a *bit* rarer than that.

Re:Rare? (1)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852132)

Except we never see a full moon during the day, since by definition the earth is between the sun and the moon.

Except that since we have a full moon at least once a month (ok, except February, maybe), we must accept a margin of error of 12 hours.

Except that if we have a margin of error of 12 hours, (sufficiently) full moons occur two nights running every other month.

Except that if full moons can occur two nights running and then another 29.5 days after the day between those two nights, three full months per month become not uncommon.

Except...

Re:Rare? (4, Interesting)

drang (165971) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852088)

(treating the months as independent of each other which obviously isn't the case but shouldn't affect the outcome)

It is not the case, it should affect the outcome, and it does. Using your figures and ignoring fractional days of a lunation, the day of the month on which a full moon occurs regresses 1-3 days each month, so if a "blue" moon occurs this month (in days 29-31) one can't occur next month (in days 26-28).

Less rare than you think... (1)

Daniel Ellard (799842) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852250)

The logic behind your math is incorrect... The months are not independent at all. In fact, they tend to nestle right up against each other.

There's no need to use probability here; enumeration will do quite nicely. It makes things a little easier if we approximate the lunar period as exactly 28 days and pretend that the year starts on March 1st (so that leap years are easier to deal with).

Starting at March 1st, there are 27 days on which the first full moon of the year can fall. It works out as: March 1: Blue moons in March, January. 2: March, February (if the next year is a leap year) 3: March 4,5: April 6,7,8: May 9,10: June 11,12,13: July 14,15,16: August 17,18: September 19,20,21: October 22,23: November 24,25,26: December 27: January So blue moons are even less rare than you thought. (Now someone with an almanac can check my memory...)

Re:Rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852295)

treating the months as independent of each other which obviously isn't the case but shouldn't affect the outcome)

Please see the book 'Innumeracy', or illiteracy in numbers. And please learn some basic probability theory before your ill attempts again.

Dark Side (1)

dfj225 (587560) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852020)

I would have destroyed the world by now but my fricken incompetent evil empire but my "laser" on the Dark Side of the moon.

Re:Dark Side (1)

abionnnn (758579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852492)

Oh so it was you earthlings who destroyed our home world! Prepare for liquidation!

The Marcels (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852028)

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue Moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper, "Please adore me"
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold

Blue Moon, now I'm no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue moon may not mean what you think (0, Redundant)

cityslicker (734138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852031)

According to an article here: http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1310_1.asp , the name 'blue moon' has been around for 400 years, but the meaning "2nd moon in a month" was only invented 25 years ago.

Very very rare (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852039)

It occurs slightly less often than IE is patched.

Re:Very very rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852050)

You are......stupid.

Re:Very very rare (1)

chcorey (801648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852355)

No, this means that all windows patches released today will actually not cause any more additional vulnerabilities. Too bad this had to happen on a Saturday. Oh well, only 2.7 more years.
- This is my first post

How rare? (4, Insightful)

lildogie (54998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852045)

"A rare spectacle" that happens more often than U.S. Presidential elections. I guess that makes the elections a rarer spectacle.

Re:How rare? (3, Funny)

Grey Tomorrow (722221) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852222)

But still a spectable, eh?

Re:How rare? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852428)

So what do you mod if a comment is both funny and insightful? Maybe there should be a 'sad comment on society mod'?

Canceling out? (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852046)

I wonder if the blue effect of ash and smoke would cancel out the yellowish hue of the moon when it's behind thin clouds to produce a somewhat greyscale moon, even when viewed in not-so-perfect weather. (As in color temperature)

whats this doing here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852070)

this is /. news why exactly?

interesting article about it in sky & telescop (5, Informative)

laejoh (648921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852079)

see article [skyandtelescope.com]

From the article:
According to Canadian folklorist Philip Hiscock, the term "blue Moon" has been around for more than 400 years, but its modern calendrical meaning has become widespread only in the last 25. And as discovered five years ago, it can be traced to a mistake published in Sky & Telescope in the 1940s!

Black Moon is even more rare (4, Interesting)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852080)

When no full moons occur in a month (usually February).

Re:Black Moon is even more rare (4, Informative)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852290)

"Black Moon is even more rare: When no full moons occur in a month (usually February)"

That would make it 2018 then?
Blue moon: 31/Jan/2008, 9am
Worm moon: 01/Mar/2008, 10pm
b.t.w. I don't think it's "usually february", I think it is always february. Every month other than february is guaranteed to be longer than the synodic period (about 29.5 days), so is guaranteed to contain a full moon. (apart from the month in which you change from julian to gregorian calendars...)

Re:Black Moon is even more rare (2, Informative)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852577)

"Black Moon is even more rare: When no full moons occur in a month (usually February)"

Of course, as someone pointed out, a "back moon" would imply
two blue moons in that year [blibbleblobble.co.uk]

So are we supposed to give them different names, or is it not possible to uniquely identify each moon in 2018? January Blue Moon and March Blue Moon or something?

And can you change when blue moons occur by selecting an appropriate timezone, or by changing to daylight-savings-time just before a full moon?

Re:Black Moon is even more rare (2, Funny)

no_space_in_time (748336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852637)

It's just not right, February doesn't get it's props. I'm calling Al Sharpton to have a day of protest.

Re:Black Moon is even more rare (2, Informative)

tootlemonde (579170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852315)

The last time there was no full moon in a month was February, 1999. The event was related to there being a Blue Moon in both January and March of that year.

Black Moon can also refer to two new moons in one month. The last time it happened was May, 2003. The next time will be December, 2005.

And let us not forget the Cheshire Moon. This name refers to a new or crescent moon where the line of the crescent looks like a smile or bowl instead of the typical "C" shape.

The explanation given here: [usatoday.com]

So, when a Crescent Moon is about to set and the Sun has already set, the Moon points down to the departed Sun: West. The horns poke up and that setting Crescent Moon "grins." If the Moon sets before the Sun, the nearby Sun creates such a glare that we can't see the setting crescent. Then it "frowns, " unseen.

Nearly the same is true of a rising Crescent Moon. If the rising Crescent rises before the Sun, the Moon points east, down towards the laggard Sun and its horns likewise stick up -- it, too grins. Otherwise, if the crescent rises after the Sun, the Moon frowns unseen.

Blue moon explained (3, Informative)

hshana (657854) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852081)

The term blue moon actually comes from the fact that in old almanacs the second full moon in a month was colored blue on the calendar.

Not Blue and Not Really a Blue Moon (1)

demmuohio (801839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852084)

According to an article on the Cincinnati Enquirer today (http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/07/31/loc_b luemoon31.html)

"Only once in a blue moon is there controversy over exactly what constitutes a blue moon. But it's not a blue moon in the strict definition of the 19th Century Farmer's Almanac. According to the almanac, a true blue moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. This also happens about every three years, but on a different cycle from the blue moon that occurs tonight. Confused? So is the American Heritage Dictionary, which lists both definitions of the blue moon."

More in the article. Interesting Stuff

Blue mooning (1)

GordoSlasher (243738) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852089)

This type of blue moon [chicago-orienteering.org] is rare unless beer is involved.

I swear I'm not making this up (5, Funny)

TrickFred (231420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852090)

...I read the article, and casually mentioned to the wife that tonight was a blue moon. She looked at me, and said with a straight face, "So, does that mean we have to have sex tonight?"

Re:I swear I'm not making this up (1)

Pusene (744969) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852160)

Of cource slashdotters lie about having a girlfriend/wife more often than once in a blue moon.

Re:I swear I'm not making this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852220)

well, maybe in the .no they do, but you know - theres geeks *everywhere* man!

Sig. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852265)

Hey man, you do know that starcraft/brood war has been working under wine for a very long time?

link to transgaming [transgaming.com] . This game will also work under wine (I've gotten it working personally), cedega makes things sooo much easier. It's not perfect; battle.net has font issues, but apparently it's not a big deal if you've played battle.net before.

Note that transgaming says that brood war doesn't work, but it does; their game listing is not updated. I just recently installed brood wars in cedega 4 (formerly known as winex)

Re:I swear I'm not making this up (2, Funny)

Myopic (18616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852297)

to which you looked back at her with a straight face and said "yes, with that neighbor lady".

Re:I swear I'm not making this up (4, Funny)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852312)

That reminds me, in a roundabout way, of one of my favorite jokes. A college psychology professor decides to quiz his students on their sexual habits. He asks the class how many have had sex more than once in the past week? Several raise their hands. How about once in the past week? More hands go up. Once in the past two weeks? And so on ... after he has gotten to once every two months, he notices that everyone in the classroom has raised his or her hand, except for one guy sitting in the back. So he goes on:

"Three months". Nothing.

"Four months". Nope.

"Six months". Still nothing.

"One year?!".

Finally the guy in the back practically leaps out of his chair, raising his hand up high and bouncing up and down enthusiatically. The prof acknowledges him, and asks, "Well if you only get it once a year, why are you so happy?". The geeky guy smiles and says:

"'Cause tonight's the night!!"

P.S. If your wife wears glasses, may I recommend blue filters? :)

Ding ga dong ding... (1)

TimTheFoolMan (656432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852091)

Aaarrggghhh...where are the Marcells when I need them!

Tim

P.S. The lyrics to that song (http://www.lyricsfind.com/m/marcels/best-of/blue- moon.php [lyricsfind.com] ) sound like they could've been written by a /. reader. Well, except for the second verse.

Ske & Telescope had an article about this... (2, Interesting)

MaxRahder (560803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852103)

See the Sky & Telescope article: "What's a Blue Moon? The trendy definition of "blue Moon" as the second full Moon in a month is a mistake." http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/ article_127_1.asp

Science? (3, Insightful)

bokmann (323771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852112)

This falls under science? This is solely an artifact of our time measuring system. The moon is full every 28 days, but months are slightly longer than that. If a full moon is early enough in the month, it will be full twice.

Re:Science? (1)

tootlemonde (579170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852560)

The moon is full every 28 days...

The number 28 appears to be a common confusion between the length of time between the same phase of the moon and the length of time it takes the moon to revolve once around the earth. . According to this [rhbnc.ac.uk] site:

The period of revolution is the SIDEREAL MONTH and has mean value of 27.32166 days. The SYNODICAL MONTH is the interval of time between two identical phases and has a mean value of 29.53059 days.

It appears the moon is full about every 29 and half days, but your point still stands.

A new Smurf will be born tonight! (1)

ddkilzer (79953) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852131)

Isn't a Smurf born once every blue moon [progressiveboink.com] ?

Mead moon and Nanci Griffith (2, Informative)

wherley (42799) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852145)

Related:

The first moon in July is known as the "Mead Moon" [waningmoon.com] .

A real nice song about the rarity of a Blue Moon is by Nanci Griffith [amazon.com] .

I wonder how it affects global tides? (1)

skidoo2 (650483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852174)

It would be interesting if someone "in the know" could share any insight on what effect (if any) these "extra" full moons have on tides.

Re:I wonder how it affects global tides? (1)

skidoo2 (650483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852194)

I **DID** read the article, before anyone jumps on my ass. And I read the part about the first full moon of the month occurring so close to perigee and causing a noticeable variation in the tides. But I wonder if there's a relationship between having this "extra" full moon and tidal variations.

Re:I wonder how it affects global tides? (4, Informative)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852202)

None: The earth doesn't rely on a calendar so no pattern is changing.

Re:I wonder how it affects global tides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852214)

I can't see how it would, since it's only an artifact of our calendar. If we only recognized days rather than weeks, months, years, etc., this wouldn't be noticed. You'll still get 2 highs & 2 lows (most places) every 25 or so hours.

Re:I wonder how it affects global tides? (1)

Mikeybo (801849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852349)

In fact the moon is always full even when we see it as a quarter moon. So the moon is full and active 365 days a year ;)

So what? (4, Insightful)

codexus (538087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852203)

This is just a calendar coincidence not any kind of astronomical event. And in fact it happens quite often. So really, there is nothing special to see here. Was that really worth mentioning on slashdot?

Weird ring around the moon (1)

tintub (733763) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852204)

We've just got home from a night out, and we noticed that there is a big ring around the moon (at least from here in Melbourne) - very strange. If I was sober I would google this interesting phenomenon - can someone just tell me what it is instead?

Re:Weird ring around the moon (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852227)

ice crystals in the upper atmosphere

Have a beer for me:)

Re:Weird ring around the moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852377)

If I was sober I would google this interesting phenomenon - can someone just tell me what it is instead?
Sure. It means you're pissed.

Hope this helped.

For a minute I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852208)

For a minute I thought you were about to discuss Blue Movie. A movie which, as in a SciFi plot, made the Dutch movie censorship council self-destruct by twisting with their own logic.

This required a script about the borders of sexuality and scenes discussing these borders while the actors were casually nude and in explicit stages of arousal. All the nudity was essential to the story and now that such scenes could be seen in theatres censoring other movies was deemed useless as their scenes could not be rated 'more morally wrong' then Blue Movie.

As a tribute to the director passing away recently the 1971 film was shown on public tv for the first time this week. A decent copy could not be found as the movie was not regarded worth keeping despite breaking box office records. A worn down to 'porn like' quality copy was all that could be found. Perhaps this actually added to the atmosphere of the movie.

To attest to the Dutch freedom a guest on a late night talkshow requested a female-ejaculation porn scene to be shown on public tv. And don't worry kids the rerun of the show is scheduled early in the afternoon.

Yes, Dutch public tv can be seen with an analog antenna or cable without decoder.

Dennis

Oh , *that* "Blue Moon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852216)

I thought someone was projecting adult versions of Sailor Moon against the night (cloud) sky. My bad, but with Slashdot it seemed natural. (Okay, natural is perhaps the wrong word.)

picture of actual BLUE moon (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852217)

On APOD there a picture [nasa.gov] of a moon that's really blue.

Once in a blue moon (3, Funny)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852221)


"Sara, please cancel all my appointments; I'll be spending the day compiling E17 final and playing Duke Nukem Forever....."

-Chris

Still a chance for a `true' blue moon ... (2, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852247)

This whole `second full moon in a month' thing is just stupid. Looks like there's already some interesting comments here about the original source of this idea.

Fortunately, there is a chance of a real blue moon [reuters.com] if you live near Anchorage, Alaska. Actually, it's not really a fortunate thing, because if this volcano does erupt and spew ash everywhere, it's a big mess. It mucks up your car, you don't want to breath it, it's almost caused airplanes to crash, etc. But it does have the possibility of causing the moon to appear truely blue.

Woohoo (4, Funny)

SlightOverdose (689181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852267)

I'm gonna get laid!

Bunch of idiots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852288)

The fact that almost nobody caught that there are two definitions of "blue moon" and that they're not related (i.e. two full moons in the same month does not magically color the second full moon blue) just goes to show what a bunch of incompetent buffoons the slashdot postership consists of.

Shameless plug (0)

cdf12345 (412812) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852450)

for my website www.bluemoonbikes.com

If you like classic 70's Stingrays or other classic chopper bicycles, check it out!

Do it today and feel extra special!

mo3 down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9852500)

faster c4ip distributions

Great (1)

narmer65 (598389) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852516)

Finally, SP2 will make Windows a stable, secure and robust operating system...

What's that? Oh, I thought you said cows will be jumping over the moon. Wrong moon reference, sorry..

Admire it while it lasts.... (2, Funny)

abram10 (755205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9852596)

This type of thing happens only once in a blue moon.
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