Description: Viral text
Circulating since: Aug. 2012
Status: Mostly true (see details below)
As posted on Facebook, Aug. 2, 2012:
GO OUTSIDE & SEE THE MOON!! August is special this year... there will be Two (2) Full Moons, an Astronomical Rarity. The first overnight...The moon will reach its full phase at 11:27 p.m. EDT tonight (03:27 GMT on Aug. 2nd), & the "Blue Moon" on the 31st. Next chance for a Blue Moon... July 2015!! (take your camera!!) --CG
Word has it that you can get some amazing pics at sunrise tomorrow morning....the full moon setting as the sun is rising. :-)
SOME INTERESTING FACTS:
1) The term Blue Moon can refer to the second full moon in a given month. When people say "once in a blue moon" they are speaking to the rarity of the occurrence of a second moon happening in the same given month.
2) The full moon occurs once every 29.5 days. This essentially means that there is one full moon every month. However, as we know, every month but February has at least 30 days in it, which presents the potential for two full moons in a month.
ENJOY & DON'T LET THE "CRAZIES" BOTHER YOU!! ;-)
Analysis: There will in fact be two full moons during the month of August 2012, the second of which, per the currently most popular definition of the phrase, will be a blue moon. It will occur on August 31, 2012.
It should be noted, however, that "blue moon" is a term of folklore, not science. Its definition has varied over time. During the first half of the twentieth century, for example, it was defined in the Maine Farmer's Almanac as the third full moon in any season containing a total of four by which measure the next blue moon would not occur until August 21, 2013.
Moreover, while the current definition of "blue moon" is barely 65 years old, the phrase itself, not to mention its metaphorical use to denote any sort of rare occurrence (e.g., "that only happens once in a blue moon"), has existed for centuries. So it's not quite accurate to say that when someone uses the metaphor they're "speaking to the rarity of the occurrence of a second moon happening in the same given month" which, given that it happens an average of once every two-and-a-half years, barely qualifies as "rare" in the first place.
More likely, says Memorial University of Newfoundland folklorist Dr. Philip Hiscock, the metaphor speaks to the rarity of a more literal phenomenon, namely the face of the moon actually appearing to turn blue in color which it has only a few times in recorded history. Perhaps the most dramatic instance was after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which sent tons of volcanic dust into the atmosphere, creating reddish-gold sunsets as far away as the British Isles and "tinting" the moon blue or green, according to observers.
More: What Is a Blue Moon?
Sources and further reading:
Fact and Fantasy About Blue Moons
Sky and Telescope
Folklore of the 'Blue Moon'
by Philip Hiscock, 1999
Last updated 08/28/12