Once a Blue Moon is here…

We told you it was coming around at the end of this month and it’s finally here. Catch this blue moon with a loved one and make it a special one. The term is traditionally used to refer to an ‘extra’ moon, where a year which normally has 12 moons has 13 instead. The last known blue moon occurred in 2012, when both September and August boasted two full moons in certain time zones. Another blue moon in expected to appear all the way in January 2018.

Blue moons have featured in movies also, most notably in the ‘Smurfs’ for whom the blue color is a wonder, and a blue moon a spectacle to be revered.In the comic books and the cartoon show, it is used to indicate when a baby Smurf is about to be delivered to the Smurf Village. In the 2011 Smurfs movie, it is a time of celebration for the Smurfs, when Papa Smurf is able to see into the future to foresee what may happen to his little Smurfs.

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One lunation (an average lunar cycle) is 29.53 days. There are about 365.24 days in a tropical year. Therefore, about 12.37 lunations (365.24 days divided by 29.53 days) occur in a tropical year. If you follow the Gregorian calendar, there are 12 months in a year, and normally there is one full moon each month. Each calendar year contains roughly 11 days more than the number of days in 12 lunar cycles. The extra days tend to accumulate, so every two or three years there is an extra full moon.

Intriguingly, blue-colored moons can be a possibility. Certain atmospheric conditions can lead to a blue-tinted moon – the most likely of which is caused by a sizable volcanic eruption. In 1883, when the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa violently erupted, plumes of ash ascended to the top of Earth’s atmosphere, turning the moon blue (and sometimes green).

According volcanologist Scott Rowland of the University of Hawaii, the phenomenon also caused the sun to appear lavender in color, and precipitated “such vivid red sunsets that fire engines were called out in New York, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven to quench the apparent conflagration.”

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