Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

Blue moon 2009: a New Year's Eve rarity
...There were twelve names for full moons, one for each month, and the name blue moon was used in years which had 13 full moons."

But in 1943, Sky and Telescope Magazine erroneously wrote that the second full moon in any calendar month was called a blue moon. The label stuck and is still used today.

It’s relatively rare that a blue moon would fall on New Year’s Eve. The last time that happened was 1990...

Even more rare – there were two blue moons in 1999, one in January and one in March. That happens only about four times a century.

Interestingly enough, this is not where the expression “once in a blue moon” comes from. According to NASA, that phrase is believed to have originated in 1883 after the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Krakatoa. The volcano put so much dust in the atmosphere that the moon actually looked blue in color. The event was deemed so unusual the phrase “once in a blue moon” was coined....

1 comment:

  1. According to NASA, that phrase is believed to have originated in 1883 after the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Krakatoa. The volcano put so much dust in the atmosphere that the moon actually looked blue in color. The event was deemed so unusual the phrase “once in a blue moon” was coined.

    This means NASA is lazy/stupid - MerriamWebster dates the usage to 1821 in the Saturday Evening Review:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blue%20moon

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