Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Blue moon to occur on New Year

LAKE COUNTY – Get ready for some extra special sparkle on New Year’s Eve when the second full moon of December – which makes it a blue moon – shines over your festivities on Thursday.

To be called a “blue moon,” the moon must be full for the second time in a calendar month, which will occur on Thursday, Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve – for the first time in almost 20 years.

A blue moon occurs every two and half years, but the last time there was a blue moon on New Year’s Eve was in 1990 – and the next will be in 2028.

Although the moon will not appear to be blue, the modern definition a blue moon is relatively new, and began in the 1940s, according to NASA.

The Farmer's Almanac of Maine offered a definition of blue moon so convoluted that even professional astronomers struggled to understand it, according to a recent NASA statement. The definition involved factors such as the ecclesiastical dates of Easter and Lent, and the timing of seasons according to the dynamical mean sun.

To explain blue moons to the masses, Sky & Telescope magazine published an article in 1946 entitled “Once in a Blue Moon,” where the author James Hugh Pruett cited the 1937 Maine almanac and opined that the "second [full moon] in a month, so I interpret it, is called Blue Moon."

Philip Hiscock of the Department of Folklore at the Memorial University of Newfoundland states that, "The phrase 'Blue Moon' has been around for more than 400 years, and during that time its meaning has shifted,” according to the NASA release.

NASA further stated that if you said that something occurs “once in a Blue Moon,” to a person in Shakespeare's time, they would attach no astronomical meaning to the statement – it only meant something that very rarely occurs, like the phrase the “Twelfth of Never.”

Each full moon also has a name and the full moon on Thursday will be the “Full Long Night Moon,” so named because the Winter Solstice, when the sun “stands still,” occurred on Dec. 21, marking the time when lengthening night begins its decline and the daytime begins to lengthen.

In addition to a full moon and blue moon on New Year’s Eve, which could bathe Lake County in lunar light (cloud cover permitting, as rains are forecast to continue through Friday), a partial eclipse will also be visible from Europe, Africa and Asia.

For more on blue moons, visit the following:

www.ips-planetarium.org/planetarian/articles/folkloreBlueMoon.html and

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29dec_bluemoon.htm?list193967 .

E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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