This weekend is your next chance to catch the rare full blue moon before it again becomes “just a memory” until 2024.
A blue moon is the third full moon in a season containing four full moons, rather than the usual three, according to Sky & Telescope magazine. The sky phenomenon has been a cultural muse for music, art and language — such as hit songs “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again” and “Blue Moon,” recorded by multiple artists including Elvis Presley, and the saying “once in a blue moon,” which describes a rare event.
NASA has reported the first recorded use of “blue moon” occurring in 1528, while Sky & Telescope has traced the term’s origin back to the Maine Farmers’ Almanac published in the 1930s.
“Introducing the ‘Blue’ Moon meant that the traditional full Moon names, such as the Wolf Moon and Harvest Moon, stayed in (sync) with their season,” said Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope’s observing editor, in a news release. This was before late amateur astronomer and Sky & Telescope contributor Hugh Pruett incorrectly understood the definition in 1946, and ultimately helped circulate the popular definition of blue moon: the second full moon within a month, the last of which occurred on Halloween 2020, according to Sky & Telescope.
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SOURCE: ABC 7; CNN, Kristen Rogers, Ashley Strickland and Sarah Molano