A Full Blue Moon shines tonight!

blue moon in sky

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Yes, tonight the full moon that you see will be a rare event called a blue moon! The last blue moon was in 2012, and the next blue moon won’t be until 2018!  So be sure not to miss tonight’s event, or you’ll be waiting close to 3 years before the next one!! 🙂    They happens so rarely you don’t want to miss this one!  And if you’re out tonight, and want to do something more than just look at the sky, you might try taking a full moon hike!


Will the moon really look blue?

No, “blue moon” is just an expression – the moon won’t actually appear blue!  It’s believed that it got the name “blue”  by replacing a similar sounding English word – “belewe” (which means to betray).

Can the moon ever look blue?

Yes, actually, there are some very, veerrry – rare times that the moon will actually appear blue in color, often due to dust particles and debris in the air (like what might happen during a volcano eruption). Ironically however, these kind of moons aren’t true “blue moons” that we refer to in astronomy.  They are just moons that are blue! 😉

So then, what is the blue moon?

A blue moon is what the second full moon in a calendar month is called.  Because the blue moon happens so rarely, we have developed the expression “once in a blue moon” to refer to almost anything that happens rarely!

Here is a list of all the blue moons:

Blue moons are, as you would suspect, fairly rare events. They occur approximately every 2.7 years. For the curious, here is a list of blue moons from the turn of the millenial through the next 50 years…

  • January 31, 1999
  • March 31, 1999
  • November 30, 2001
  • July 31, 2004
  • June 30, 2007
  • December 31, 2009
  • August 31, 2012
  • July 31, 2015
  • January 31, 2018
  • March 31, 2018
  • October 31, 2020
  • August 31, 2022
  • May 31, 2026
  • December 31, 2028
  • September 30, 2031
  • July 31, 2034
  • January 31, 2037
  • October 31, 2039
  • August 31, 2042
  • May 30, 2045
  • January 31, 2048
  • September 30, 2050




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