August 2012 Blue Moon and Tales of Love and Massive Tragedies

By @Len_IBTimes on

The Blue Moon in August brings to mind the frequently asked questions about the cosmic event. Along with the questions come tales of love and deadly tragedies, and this is the case every two or three years, when there is an extra full moon in a year.

Does the moon turn blue? To the naked eye, yes. But it does not have to be a blue moon on the calendar for this to happen. Confused, already?

There's more: For a long time, the blue moon has been referred to as the extra full moon in a month. Scientists have corrected the misunderstanding, which was a result of a July 1943 Sky & Telescope feature.

To help set the record on Blue Moon, has illustrated a brief explanation. explains 'Blue Moon'

Apparently, one has to look narrower into a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) instead of a year. A season is supposed to have only three full moons. In the olden days, there is a name for each full moon, and the last full moon in a season is called the Late Moon. The extra full moon in a season is called Blue Moon. It comes third in a season, such that the last full moon will still be called Late Moon.

Now how did the blue moon get entangled with love and tragedies? Verbal stories told over time have influenced creative people, making films and songs of the blue moon. As for tragedies, the mood can appear to be blue before the naked eye after blazing catastrophes like wildfires and volcano eruptions.

The romance in a blue moon

The Blue Moon occurs once every two to three years. Combine the element of rarity to the cosmic enigma of the moon and you have got something special for the romantics.

In some cultures, it is believed that the person you spend the Blue Moon with will be the love that lasts forever. Hence, an agricultural marker for farmers hundreds of years ago has become a couple's charm.

Film producers have worked on films relating a blue moon to a love story. The Philippines and Hong Kong produced such films in 2006 and 2008, respectively. An Austrian movie called "Blue Moon" was produced in 2002. A romantic song has also been written about this rare lunar event.

Blue moon in tragedies

The extra-full-moon-in-a-season does not typically turn blue. However, the moon has been seen in blue hue a couple of times in recorded history.

Forest fires or volcanic eruptions can paint the moon blue or light lavender, at least to the naked eye. When burnt particles like soot and ash get deposited high in the Earth's atmosphere, the moon appears bluish.

Canada has seen a blue moon in late September 1950 after a widespread forest fire. More recently, the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991 was followed by reports of sighting a blue moon (and a blue sun).

In August, the first full moon (the Blue Moon) will show on August 1. The traditional Late Moon will appear on August 31. Would you let your romantic or domestic plans be affected by the lunar phases?

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