When is this week’s ‘blue moon’ and what is the meaning behind it?


It’s a blue moon, but it won’t look like this (PhotoAlto)

This Saturday, the UK is set to experience a rare blue moon that should provide the basis for some stunning pictures if the weather doesn’t get in the way.

It’s a lunar phenomenon that, in the most literal sense possible, occurs once in a blue moon.

Quite simply, a blue moon is the name given to any full moon that appears for the second time in a single calendar month. For the avoidance of any doubt at all, the moon will not be turning blue this week.

And despite the phrase, they’re not really as rare as you may think. The moon has a 29-day orbital cycle which, when coupled with the fact that most months have more than 29 days, leads to a few blue moons every couple of years.

January and March are typically good months for blue moons – we saw blue moons in both months in 2018.

The super blue blood moon in January 2018 was a rare combination of a supermoon, a blood moon and a blue moon all simultaneously occurring. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Maritime astronomer Bruce McClure of EarthSky.org explained: ‘What we call a season – winters, spring, summer, fall – typically lasts three months, and typically has three full moons.

‘If a season has four full moons, then the third full moon may be called a blue moon, according to the old Maine Farmer’s Almanac.’

This moon is also known as the ‘Flower’ moon.

The Royal Observatory explained: ‘Cultures around the world, including the Native Americans, have given names to each of the full moon, with each typically happening in its own month.

‘For example, the Wolf Moon is usually the full moon occurring within January.

‘With the cycle of the phases of the Moon lasting approximately one month, and there being twelve months in a year, we typically have twelve full moons each year.’

Weather permitting, you’ll see a good full moon this weekend (SWNS)

The instructions for finding the blue moon this weekend are fairly easy to follow: head outside, check its not cloudy and look up. The blue moon will be the big bright circular thing in the sky. The object that is definitely not blue.





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