What makes today's full moon a 'blue moon'

July 31, 2015 4:50 PM |

What is a blue moonThe second full moon of this month will be visible today. Although the moon will attain its completely illuminated phase at 4.13 pm IST itself, but people in India will not be able to see it before 6.36 pm when it is likely to be visible from Kanyakumari.

Generally in a calendar year, a full moon is visible once every month. But on an average, once in every 2.5 years, a ‘blue moon’ or the second moon in a month can be seen in the sky. Thus the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ finally makes sense.

So whenever two full moons appear in a single month, the second one gets the title of a blue moon. Besides some basic misunderstanding in history, there’s nothing else which supports the ‘blue’ in a blue moon. As NASA's witty remark suggests, “Squeezing another moon into a calendar month does not change its color”.

The last time a blue moon appeared on the sky canvas was back in August 2012. Also, the next blue moon will be visible sometime in January 2018. The blue moon today will rise just before sunset and will be visible at different times across different locations.

In India, you can check out the blue moon in Delhi at around 7.01 pm. The moon rise time for Ahmedabad is 7.14 pm, Bhopal 6.54 pm, Dibrugarh 5.46 pm, and Kanyakumari 6.36 pm. As per your geographical location, you need to look east a few minutes after the sunset, right above the horizon where the blue moon will greet you.

So that’s that! The next time you make the liberate use of the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’, be sure to remember that you’re talking some 2.5 years from the time you say those words. Go now, happy (blue) moon hunting!

(Featured Image Credit: telegraph.co.uk)

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