A blue moon is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as (1) A moon (real, depicted, or imagined) that appears blue; (2) (Since c1820) a long or indefinite length of time; a rarely recurring period or event (“once in a blue moon”); (3) (Since 1946) a second full moon in a calendar month, or formerly (from 1937) the third full moon in a season containing four full moons.[1]

The calendrical meaning of "blue moon" (3) is unconnected to the other meanings. It is often referred to as “traditional”,[2][3] but since no occurrences are known prior to 1937 it is better described as an invented tradition or “modern American folklore”.[4] The practice of designating the second full moon in a month as "blue" originated with amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett in 1946.[5] It does not come from Native American lunar tradition, as is sometimes supposed.[6][7]

The moon - not necessarily full - can sometimes appear blue due to atmospheric emissions from large forest fires or volcanoes, though the phenomenon is rare and unpredictable (hence the saying “once in a blue moon”).[8][9][10] A calendrical blue moon (by Pruett's definition) is predictable and relatively common, happening 7 times in every 19 years (i.e. once every 2 or 3 years).[1] Calendrical blue moons occur because the time between successive full moons (approximately 29.5 days) is shorter than the average calendar month.[11] They are of no astronomical or historical significance, and are not a product of actual lunisolar timekeeping or intercalation.

Phrase origin

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A 1528 satire, Rede Me and Be Nott Wrothe, contained the lines, “Yf they saye the mone is belewe / We must believe that it is true.”[12] The intended sense was of an absurd belief, like the moon being made of cheese. There is nothing to connect it with the later metaphorical or calendrical meanings of “blue moon”. However, a confusion of belewe (Middle English, “blue”)[13] with belǽwan (Old English “to betray”)[14]) led to a false etymology for the calendrical term that remains widely circulated, despite its originator having acknowledged it as groundless.[15][16][17]

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem "Alastor" (1816) [18] mentioned an erupting volcano[18]: 7  and a “blue moon / Low in the west.” [18]: 14  It was written at a time when the eruption of Mount Tambora was causing global climate effects, and not long before the first recorded instances of “blue moon” as a metaphor.

The OED cites Pierce Egan’s Real Life in London (1821) as the earliest known occurrence of “blue moon” in the metaphorical sense of a long time. (“How's Harry and Ben?—haven't seen you this blue moon.”)[19] An 1823 revision of Francis Grose’s ‘’Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’’, edited by Egan, included the definition: “Blue moon. In allusion to a long time before such a circumstance happens. ‘O yes, in a blue moon.’”[20] An earlier (1811) version of the same dictionary had not included the phrase, so it was likely coined some time in the 1810s.[21] "Once in a blue moon" is recorded from 1833.[1]

The use of blue moon to mean a specific calendrical event dates from 1937, when the Maine Farmers' Almanac used the term in a slightly different sense from the one now in common use. According to the OED, “Earlier occurrences of the sense given in the Maine Farmers' Almanac have not been traced, either in editions of the Almanac prior to 1937, or elsewhere; the source of this application of the term (if it is not a coinage by the editor, H. P. Trefethen) is unclear.”[1] The conjecture of editorial invention is further supported by the spurious explanation the almanac gave:

The Moon usually comes full twelve times in a year, three times in each season... However, occasionally the moon comes full thirteen times in a year. This was considered a very unfortunate circumstance, especially by the monks who had charge of the calendar. It became necessary for them to make a calendar of thirteen months, and it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals. For this reason thirteen came to be considered an unlucky number. Also, this extra moon had a way of coming in each of the seasons so that it could not be given a name appropriate to the time of year like the other moons. It was usually called the Blue Moon... In olden times the almanac makers had much difficulty calculating the occurrence of the Blue Moon and this uncertainty gave rise to the expression "Once in a Blue Moon". [3]

There is no evidence that an extra moon in a month, season or year was considered unlucky, or that it led to 13 being considered unlucky, or that the extra moon was called "blue", or that it led to the phrase "once in a blue moon". There is good reason to suspect that the 1937 article was a hoax, practical joke, or simply misinformed. It is however true that the date of the Christian festival of Easter depended on an accurate computation of full moon dates, and important work was done by the monks Dionysius Exiguus and Bede, explained by the latter in The Reckoning of Time, written c725 CE. According to Bede, “Whenever it was a common year, [the Anglo-Saxons] gave three lunar months to each season. When an embolismic year occurred (that is, one of 13 lunar months) they assigned the extra month to summer, so that three months together bore the name ‘‘Litha’’; hence they called [the embolismic] year ‘‘Thrilithi’’. It had four summer months, with the usual three for the other seasons.” The name Litha is now applied by some Neo-Pagans to midsummer.[22]

The 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac article was misinterpreted by James Hugh Pruett in a 1946 Sky and Telescope article, leading to the calendrical definition of “blue moon” that is now most commonly used, i.e. the second full moon in a calendar month. “A blue moon in the original Maine Farmers' Almanac sense can only occur in the months of February, May, August, and November. In the later sense, one can occur in any month except February."[1] This later sense gained currency from its use in a United States radio programme, StarDate on January 31, 1980 and in a question in the Trivial Pursuit game in 1986.[23][24]

Actual blue moon

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The moon (and sun[25]) can appear blue under certain atmospheric conditions — for instance, if volcanic eruptions or large-scale fires release particles into the atmosphere of just the right size to preferentially scatter red light.[26] According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, scattering is the cause of “that epitome of rare occurrences, the blue Moon (seen when forest fires produce clouds composed of small droplets of organic compounds).” [8]

A Royal Society report on the 1883 Krakatoa eruption[27] gave a detailed account of “blue, green, and other coloured appearances of the sun and moon” seen in many places for months afterwards.[27]: xiii . The report mentioned that in February 1884 an observer in central America saw the crescent moon as “a magnificent emerald-green” while its ashen part was “pale green”. Venus, bright stars and a comet were also green.[27]: 173  The report authors suspected that green moons were a contrast effect, since in those cases the surrounding sky was seen as red.[27]: 203

People saw blue moons in 1983 after the eruption of the El Chichón volcano in Mexico, and there are reports of blue moons caused by Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.[28]

The moon looked blue after forest fires in Sweden and Canada in 1950 and 1951,[29] On September 23, 1950, several muskeg fires that had been smoldering for several years in Alberta, Canada, suddenly blew up into major—and very smoky—fires. Winds carried the smoke eastward and southward with unusual speed, and the conditions of the fire produced large quantities of oily droplets of just the right size (about 1 micrometre in diameter) to scatter red and yellow light. Wherever the smoke cleared enough so that the sun was visible, it was lavender or blue. Ontario, Canada, and much of the east coast of the United States were affected by the following day, and two days later, observers in Britain reported an indigo sun in smoke-dimmed skies, followed by an equally blue moon that evening.[28][30]

Ice particles might have a similar effect. The Antarctic diary of Robert Falcon Scott for July 11, 1911 mentioned "the air thick with snow, and the moon a vague blue".[31]

The key to a blue moon is having many particles slightly wider than the wavelength of red light (0.7 micrometer)—and no other sizes present. Ash and dust clouds thrown into the atmosphere by fires and storms usually contain a mixture of particles with a wide range of sizes, with most smaller than 1 micrometer, and they tend to scatter blue light. This kind of cloud makes the moon turn red; thus red moons are far more common than blue moons.[32]

Calendrical blue moon

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A calendrical "blue moon" during the December 2009 lunar eclipse

Blue moon as a calendrical term originated with the 1937 Maine Farmers’ Almanac, a provincial U.S. magazine that is not to be confused with the Farmers' Almanac, Old Farmer's Almanac, or other American almanacs. There is no evidence of “blue moon” having been used as a specific calendrical term before 1937, and it was possibly invented by the magazine’s editor, Henry Porter Trefethen (1887-1957).[1] As a term for the second full moon in a calendar month it began to be widely known in the U.S. in the mid-1980s and became internationally known in the late 1990s when calendrical matters were of special interest given the approaching millennium. It created a misapprehension that the calendrical meaning of “blue moon” had preceded the metaphorical one, and inspired various folk etymologies, e.g. the “betrayer” speculation mentioned earlier, or that it came from a printing convention in calendars or a saying in Czech.[33] A 1997 Taiwanese movie, Blue Moon, had the log line “There is usually only one full moon every month, but occasionally there are two – and that second full moon is called the Blue Moon. It is said that when a person sees a blue moon and makes a wish, he will be granted a second chance in things.”[34]

In 1999 folklorist Philip Hiscock presented a timeline for the calendrical term.[35] First, the August page of the 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac ran a sidebar claiming that the term was used “in olden times” for an extra full moon in a season, and gave some examples (21 November 1915, 22 August 1918, 21 May 1921, 20 February 1924, 21 November 1934, 22 August 1937, and 21 May 1940). Six years later, Laurence J. Lafleur (1907-66) quoted the almanac in the U.S. magazine Sky & Telescope (July 1943, page 17) in answer to a reader’s question about the meaning of “blue moon”. Then James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955) quoted it again in Sky & Telescope (March 1946, p3), saying “seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon”. In 1980 the term was used (with Pruett’s definition) in a U.S. radio program, Star Date, and in 1985 it appeared in a U.S. children’s book, The Kids' World Almanac of Records and Facts (“What is a blue moon? When there are two full moons in a month, the second one is called a blue moon. It is a rare occurrence.”)[36] In 1986 it was included as a question in Trivial Pursuit (likely taken from the children’s book), and in 1988 a forthcoming blue moon received widespread press coverage.

In 1999 U.S. astronomer Donald W. Olson researched the original articles and published the results in a Sky & Telescope article co-authored with Richard T Fienberg and Roger W. Sinnott. From the examples given by Trefethen in the 1937 Maine Farmers’ Almanac they deduced a “rule” he must effectively have used. “Seasonal Moon names are assigned near the spring equinox in accordance with the ecclesiastical rules for determining the dates of Easter and Lent. The beginnings of summer, fall, and winter are determined by the dynamical mean Sun. When a season contains four full Moons, the third is called a Blue Moon.”[37][38] They termed this the “Maine rule” for blue moons, as distinct from Pruett’s 1946 definition that was seen to have been a misinterpretation.

In popular astronomy the Maine rule is sometimes called the “seasonal”,[39] “true”[40] or “traditional”[41] rule (though of course no tradition of it exists prior to 1937). Blue moons by Pruett’s definition are sometimes called “calendar blue moons”.[42] The "seasonal" blue moon rule is itself ambiguous since it depends which definition of season is used. The Maine rule used seasons of equal length with the ecclesiastical equinox (March 21). An alternative is to use the astronomical seasons, which are of unequal length.

There is also reference in modern popular astrology to “zodiacal blue moons”.[43]

Blue moon dates

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The table below has blue moon dates and times (UTC) calculated according to Pruett’s “calendar” rule (second full moon in a calendar month) and two versions of the “seasonal” rule (third full moon in a season with four). The Maine rule uses equal-length seasons defined by the dynamical mean sun, and is presumed to have been the original rule of Trefethen.[38] The “astro-seasonal” rule uses the unequal astronomical seasons defined by the apparent sun. All calculations are by David Harper.[44]

The fourth column shows blue moon dates that were actually printed in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac, as found by Olson, Fienberg and Sinnott in 1999. They studied issues published between 1819 and 1962, and found that all mentions occurred between 1937, when H.P. Trefethen introduced the term, and 1956, when Trefethen’s editorship ended (consistent with it being Trefethen’s own invention). Occasional discrepancies between the Maine rule and the almanac’s printed dates can be ascribed to clerical errors or miscalculation. In one case (August 1945) Trefethen appears to have used the apparent rather than mean sun.[37]

The table shows that in 200 years there are 187 full moons that could be called "blue" by some definition - an average of nearly one per year. Two Pruett blue moons can occur in a single year (1915, 1961, 1999, 2018, 2037, 2094). 1915 had four blue moons (two Pruett, one Maine, one astro-seasonal). 1934 and 2048 have three (one of each type).

Year Pruett rule[45] Maine rule[46] Astro-Seasonal[46] Almanac[37]
1901 Jul 31 at 10:35
1902 May 22 at 10:46 May 22 at 10:46
1904 Mar 31 at 12:45
1905 Feb 19 at 18:52 Feb 19 at 18:52
1906 Nov 30 at 23:07
1907 Aug 23 at 12:15 Aug 23 at 12:15
1909 Aug 31 at 05:06
1910 Aug 20 at 19:14 Aug 20 at 19:14
1912 May 30 at 23:29
1913 Feb 21 at 02:03 May 20 at 07:18
1915 Jan 31 at 04:42
1915 Mar 31 at 05:36 Nov 21 at 17:36 Aug 24 at 21:40 Nov 21
1917 Sep 30 at 20:31
1918 Aug 22 at 05:02 Aug 22 at 05:02 Aug 22
1920 Jul 30 at 23:17
1921 May 21 at 20:15 May 21 at 20:15 May 21
1923 Apr 30 at 21:31
1924 Feb 20 at 16:07 May 18 at 21:52 Feb 20
1925 Oct 31 at 17:15
1926 Aug 23 at 12:38 Aug 23 at 12:38 summer
1928 Aug 31 at 02:35
1929 May 23 at 12:50 Aug 20 at 09:42 spring
1931 May 31 at 14:31
1932 Feb 22 at 02:07 May 20 at 05:09 winter
1933 Dec 31 at 20:53
1934 Mar 31 at 01:15 Nov 21 at 04:26 Aug 24 at 19:37 Nov 21
1936 Sep 30 at 20:59
1937 Aug 22 at 00:47 Aug 22 at 00:47 Aug 22
1939 Jul 31 at 06:37
1940 May 21 at 13:33 May 21 at 13:33 May 21
1942 Apr 30 at 21:58
1943 Feb 20 at 05:45 May 19 at 21:13 Feb 20
1944 Oct 31 at 13:36
1945 Nov 19 at 15:13 Aug 23 at 12:03 Aug 23
1947 Aug 31 at 16:33
1948 May 23 at 00:37 Aug 19 at 17:32 May 23
1950 May 31 at 12:44
1951 May 21 at 05:45 May 21 at 05:45 May 21
1952 Dec 31 at 05:06
1953 Nov 20 at 23:12 Aug 24 at 20:21 Nov 20
1955 Oct 31 at 06:03
1956 Aug 21 at 12:38 Aug 21 at 12:38 Aug 21
1958 Jul 30 at 16:46
1959 May 22 at 12:56 May 22 at 12:56
1961 Jan 31 at 18:46
1961 Apr 30 at 18:41 Nov 22 at 09:44
1962 Feb 19 at 13:18 May 19 at 14:32
1963 Nov 30 at 23:55
1964 Nov 19 at 15:43 Aug 23 at 05:25
1966 Aug 31 at 00:13
1967 May 23 at 20:22 Aug 20 at 02:27
1969 May 31 at 13:17
1970 May 21 at 03:38 May 21 at 03:38
1971 Dec 31 at 20:18
1972 Nov 20 at 23:07 Nov 20 at 23:07
1974 Oct 31 at 01:20
1975 Aug 21 at 19:48 Aug 21 at 19:48
1977 Jul 30 at 10:52
1978 May 22 at 13:17 May 22 at 13:17
1980 Mar 31 at 15:13
1981 Feb 18 at 22:58 Feb 18 at 22:58
1982 Dec 30 at 11:31
1983 Nov 20 at 12:29 Aug 23 at 14:59
1985 Jul 31 at 21:40
1986 Aug 19 at 18:54 Aug 19 at 18:54
1988 May 31 at 10:54
1989 Feb 20 at 15:32 May 20 at 18:16
1990 Dec 31 at 18:36
1991 Nov 21 at 22:56 Nov 21 at 22:56
1993 Sep 30 at 18:54
1994 Aug 21 at 06:47 Aug 21 at 06:47
1996 Jul 30 at 10:35
1997 May 22 at 09:13 May 22 at 09:13
1999 Jan 31 at 16:05
1999 Mar 31 at 22:50
2000 Feb 19 at 16:27 Feb 19 at 16:27
2001 Nov 30 at 20:49
2002 Nov 20 at 01:34 Aug 22 at 22:29
2004 Jul 31 at 18:05
2005 Aug 19 at 17:53 Aug 19 at 17:53
2007 Jun 30 at 13:48
2008 Feb 21 at 03:30 May 20 at 02:11
2009 Dec 31 at 19:11
2010 Nov 21 at 17:27 Nov 21 at 17:27
2012 Aug 31 at 13:56
2013 Aug 21 at 01:44 Aug 21 at 01:44
2015 Jul 31 at 10:41
2016 May 21 at 21:14 May 21 at 21:14
2018 Jan 31 at 13:27
2018 Mar 31 at 12:35
2019 Feb 19 at 15:53 May 18 at 21:11
2020 Oct 31 at 14:47
2021 Nov 19 at 08:57 Aug 22 at 12:02
2023 Aug 31 at 01:35
2024 Aug 19 at 18:25 Aug 19 at 18:25
2026 May 31 at 08:44
2027 Feb 20 at 23:23 May 20 at 10:59
2028 Dec 31 at 16:48
2029 Nov 21 at 04:02 Aug 24 at 01:51
2031 Sep 30 at 18:56
2032 Aug 21 at 01:46 Aug 21 at 01:46
2034 Jul 31 at 05:54
2035 May 22 at 04:25 May 22 at 04:25
2037 Jan 31 at 14:01
2037 Mar 31 at 09:53
2038 Feb 19 at 16:09 May 18 at 18:23
2039 Oct 31 at 22:36
2040 Nov 18 at 19:05 Aug 22 at 09:09
2042 Aug 31 at 01:59
2043 Aug 20 at 15:04 Aug 20 at 15:04
2045 May 30 at 17:51
2046 May 20 at 03:15 May 20 at 03:15
2048 Jan 31 at 00:13 Nov 20 at 11:19 Aug 23 at 18:06
2050 Sep 30 at 17:31
2051 Aug 22 at 01:34 Aug 22 at 01:34
2053 Jul 30 at 17:03
2054 May 21 at 15:16 May 21 at 15:16
2056 Mar 31 at 10:22
2057 Feb 19 at 11:56 May 18 at 19:02
2058 Oct 31 at 12:51
2059 Nov 19 at 13:09 Aug 23 at 09:41
2061 Aug 30 at 22:17
2062 Aug 20 at 03:55 Aug 20 at 03:55
2064 May 30 at 10:34
2065 May 20 at 02:05 May 20 at 02:05
2066 Dec 31 at 14:40
2067 Mar 30 at 20:07 Nov 20 at 23:49 Nov 20 at 23:49
2069 Sep 30 at 18:06
2070 Aug 21 at 19:53 Aug 21 at 19:53
2072 May 31 at 22:15
2073 May 21 at 10:02 May 21 at 10:02
2075 Apr 30 at 18:35
2076 Feb 19 at 23:48 May 18 at 17:38
2077 Oct 31 at 10:36
2078 Nov 19 at 12:52 Aug 23 at 08:11
2080 Jul 31 at 19:12
2081 Aug 19 at 11:15 Aug 19 at 11:15
2083 May 31 at 09:41
2084 May 20 at 02:36 May 20 at 02:36
2085 Dec 30 at 23:57
2086 Nov 20 at 20:12 Nov 20 at 20:12
2088 Sep 30 at 15:25
2089 Aug 21 at 06:15 Aug 21 at 06:15
2091 Jul 30 at 11:58
2092 May 21 at 10:00 May 21 at 10:00
2094 Jan 31 at 12:35
2094 Apr 30 at 13:54
2095 Feb 19 at 06:59 May 19 at 09:21
2096 Oct 31 at 11:13
2097 Nov 19 at 13:03 Aug 22 at 23:52
2099 Aug 30 at 17:55
2100 Aug 19 at 21:29 Aug 19 at 21:29

Remarks

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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. So the date of the full moon falls back by nearly one day every calendar month on average. Each calendar year contains roughly 11 days more than the number of days in 12 lunar cycles, so every two or three years (seven times in the 19 year Metonic cycle), there is an extra full moon in the year. The extra full moon necessarily falls in one of the four seasons (however defined), giving that season four full moons instead of the usual three.[47][48][49]

Given that a year is approximately 365.2425 days and a synodic orbit is 29.5309 days,[50] then there are about 12.368 synodic months in a year. For this to add up to another full month would take 1/0.368 years. Thus it would take about 2.716 years, or 2 years, 8 months, and 18 days for another Pruett blue moon to occur. Or approximately once in 32.5 months on an average.

When there are two Pruett blue moons in a single year, the first occurs in January and the second in March or April.[51][52]

The next time New Year's Eve falls on a Pruett blue moon (as occurred on December 31, 2009 in time zones west of UTC+05) is after one Metonic cycle, in 2028 in time zones west of UTC+08. At that time there will be a total lunar eclipse.

See also

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References

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  1. ^ a b c d e f "blue moon, n." Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. September 2023. Retrieved May 3, 2024.
  2. ^ Dobrijevic, Daisy (January 13, 2024). "Blue Moon: What is it and when is the next one?". space.com. Retrieved May 4, 2024. A seasonal Blue Moon is the traditional definition of a Blue Moon and refers to the third full moon in a season that has four full moons according to NASA.
  3. ^ a b Hannikainen, Diana (August 29, 2023). "The Moon is "Blue" this Wednesday... Or is it?". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 8, 2024. The 1937 Maine Farmer's Almanac reveals the traditional meaning of "Blue Moon."
  4. ^ "What is a blue moon? Is the moon ever really blue?". Library of Congress. September 19, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2024. So, 'blue moon' as most of us today know it, is modern American folklore, but with a long interesting history involving calendars and the measuring of the year. Still, no matter what meaning you give it, blue moons are pretty rare, and everyone knows what you mean when you say "once in a blue moon!"
  5. ^ "What is a Blue Moon". Sky and Telescope. July 27, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2024. Some three years later, in March 1946, an article entitled "Once in a Blue Moon" appeared in Sky & Telescope (page 3). Its author, James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955), was an amateur astronomer living in Eugene, Oregon, and a frequent contributor to Sky & Telescope. Pruett wrote on a variety of topics, especially fireball meteors. In his article on Blue Moons, he mentioned the 1937 Maine almanac and repeated some of Lafleur's earlier comments. Then he went on to say, "Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon."
  6. ^ Barbuzano, Javier (January 1, 2023). "Native American Full Moon Names". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 20, 2024. While this name is not Native American, it is included here for completeness.
  7. ^ "Why do we have special names for full moons?". Royal Museums Greenwich. Retrieved May 20, 2024.
  8. ^ a b The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 16. Chicago. 2005. p. 602.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Gibbs, Philip (May 1997). "Why is the sky blue?". math.ucr.edu. Retrieved November 4, 2015. ... may cause the moon to have a blue tinge since the red light has been scattered out.
  10. ^ Philip Hiscock (August 24, 2012). "Once in a Blue Moon". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  11. ^ Harper, David (2023). "Once in a Blue Moon". obliquity.com. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  12. ^ Roy, William; Barlow, Jerome (1845). Rede Me and Be Nott Wrothe. Chiswick: Charles Whittingham.
  13. ^ "belewe". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. September 2023. Retrieved May 4, 2024. belewe, variant of blue, adj. and n.
  14. ^ "Is the "blue" in "blue moon" a reference to betrayal?". StackExchange. Retrieved May 4, 2024. Neither the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), nor the Online Etymology Dictionary provide any support for the idea that the term "blue moon" has any connection to Old English belǽwan "to betray". To the contrary, the OED indicates that the "blue" in "blue moon" is derived from the familar color word, which is a loanword from French (although French in turn got the word from a Germanic language). The OED does indicate that the color word blue was spelled "belewe" in some Middle English manuscript or manuscripts.
  15. ^ Joe Rao, Space.com Skywatching Columnist (May 25, 2007). "The Truth Behind This Month's Blue Moon". Space.com. Retrieved May 4, 2024. Many years ago in the pages of Natural History magazine, I speculated that the rule might have evolved out of the fact that the word "belewe" came from the Old English, meaning, "to betray." "Perhaps," I suggested, "the second full Moon is 'belewe' because it betrays the usual perception of one full moon per month." But as innovative as my explanation was, it turned out to be completely wrong.
  16. ^ "What is a Blue Moon And When Is The Next One?". Farmers’ Almanac. Retrieved May 4, 2024. One explanation connects it with the word belewe from Old English, meaning, "to betray." Perhaps, then, the Moon was "belewe" because it betrayed the usual perception of one full Moon per month? That would make sense.
  17. ^ "What is a blue moon and how often does it occur?". Royal Museums Greenwich. Retrieved May 4, 2024. Quite where the term blue moon came from is unclear. It may be a mispronounciation of the disused word "belewe" which means 'to betray'. This may be a reference to the betrayal of the usual idea of having one full moon in each month or perhaps the "betrayal" by the Moon of worshippers attempting to determine the position and duration of Lent in the calendar year.
  18. ^ a b c Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1816). Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude, and Other Poems. London.
  19. ^ Egan, Pierce (1905). Real Life in London. London: Methuen. p. 163.
  20. ^ Grose, Francis; Egan, Pierce (1823). Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. London.
  21. ^ Grose, Francis (1994). The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. London: Senate.
  22. ^ Wallis, Faith. Bede: The Reckoning of Time (PDF). Liverpool: The University Press. p. 53.
  23. ^ Sinnott, Roger W.; Olson, Donald W.; Fienberg, Richard Tresch (May 1999). "What's a Blue Moon?". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved March 1, 2024.
  24. ^ Hiscock, Philip (August 30, 2012). "Folklore of the 'Blue Moon'". International Planetarium Society. Retrieved March 1, 2024.
  25. ^ Sawyer Hogg, H (1950). "Out of Old Books (Blue Sun)". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. 44: 241. Retrieved May 3, 2024.
  26. ^ Gibbs, Philip (May 1997). "Why is the sky blue?". math.ucr.edu. Retrieved November 4, 2015. ... may cause the moon to have a blue tinge since the red light has been scattered out.
  27. ^ a b c d Symons, George James (1888). The Eruption of Krakatoa, and Subsequent Phenomena. London: The Royal Society.
  28. ^ a b Blue Moon Archived March 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. science.nasa.gov (July 7, 2004).
  29. ^ Minnaert, M: "De natuurkunde van 't vrije veld" 5th edition Thieme 1974, part I "Licht en kleur in het landschap" par.187; ISBN 90-03-90844-3 (out of print); also see ISBN 0-387-97935-2
  30. ^ Scott Lingley (July 28, 2015). "The year the sun turned blue". Phys.org. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  31. ^ Scott, Captain R. F. (July 2019). "Scott's Last Expedition". The Journals of Captain R. F. Scott. 12. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  32. ^ Bowling, S. A. (1988-02-22). Blue moons and lavender suns Archived March 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Alaska Science Forum, Article #861
  33. ^ Hiscock, Philip (August 24, 2012). "Blue Moons, Origins and History". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 10, 2024. I've checked with several native speakers of Czech and found nothing like "blue Moon." Secondly, an e-mail correspondent told me several years ago that calendar printers would always print a full Moon in red except when it was the second one in a month; then it would be printed in blue! That sounded wonderfully plausible -— until I looked at older calendars and found none that were so.
  34. ^ "Blue Moon". IMDb. September 1, 1997. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  35. ^ Hiscock, Philip (March 1, 1999). "Once in a Blue Moon". Sky & Telescope: 52–55. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  36. ^ McLoone, Margo; Siegel, Alice; Rosenbaum, Richard (1985). The Kids' World Almanac of Records and Facts, Volume 1. New York: World Almanac Publications. p. 67.
  37. ^ a b c Olson, Donald W.; Fineberg, Richard Tresch; Sinnott, Roger W. (May 1999). "What's A Blue Moon". Digital Library. Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  38. ^ a b Olson, Donald W.; Fineberg, Richard Tresch; Sinnott, Roger W. (July 27, 2006). "What is a Blue Moon in Astronomy?". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  39. ^ McClure, Bruce (May 20, 2016). "How Often A Seasonal Blue Moon?". Earth Sky. Retrieved May 10, 2024. It's a seasonal Blue Moon: the third of four full moons to occur in a single season.
  40. ^ "'True' Blue Moon Occurs Sunday, August 22nd". Sky & Telescope. August 19, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2024. The full Moon of Sunday, August 22nd, will be a "Blue Moon" according to the original — but not the most popular — definition of the phrase.
  41. ^ "Blue Moon for Halloween". Sky & Telescope. October 27, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2024. Editors and contributors to Sky & Telescope have traced the traditional astronomical definition to the Maine Farmers' Almanac in the late 1930s.
  42. ^ "Blue Super Moon 2023". The Free Press Journal. August 30, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2024. There are two kinds of blue moons, but they don't actually look blue. One type is called a calendar blue moon, and the other type is a seasonal blue moon.
  43. ^ "Zodiac-Seasonal Blue Moon Information". LunarLiving.org. May 10, 2024. Retrieved May 10, 2024. The zodiac blue moons can occur in any month between the 18th to the 23rd day of the month.
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  47. ^ Plait, Phil There is also a myth that it came from a calendar printer who printed the phases of the moon in white. When it came to pass that there were two full moons in the same month, they colored the second one blue. "Today's full moon is the 13th and last of 2012".{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  50. ^ Espanek, Fred. "Eclipses and the moon's orbit". NASA. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  51. ^ Harper, David (2018). "The Double Blue Moon of 2018". Obliquity. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  52. ^ Giesen, Jurgen. "Blue Moon". Physik und Astromonie. Retrieved January 17, 2009.
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