Blue Moon

August 31, 2012

The photo below was taken at around 11:00 pm on August 31, 2012, a few hours before the moon was completely at full 13:58 UTC (09:58 EDT) next morning and would be below the horizon.

A blue moon originally referred to the third (not the fourth) full moon in a single season with four full moons. Those seasons were not determined by the strict astronomical alignments used today, but instead were based on ecclesiastical dates determined by the Church.

Due to what has been described as a misinterpretation of an old edition of the Maine Farmers' Almanac, the modern definition has a blue moon as the second full moon in a month. Last night's full moon met the latter definition since it was the second in the month of August. This was what will be the last Blue Moon of that type until August 31, 2016. An interesting treatise on the history of the Blue Moon can be read on the Sky & Telescope website.

Today also happens to be the day that astronaut Neil Armstrong will be buried in Cincinnati, Ohio. Armstrong was, of course, the first human to place his foot on a celestial body other than the Earth - in his case the moon. He died on August 25, 2012. I took a photo of the moon, centered on Tranquility Base, on that evening.

Blue Moon, August 31, 2012 - Airplanes and Rockets



August  31, 2012