Skygazers capture the Blue Moon in the night sky

This weekend will see the Blue Moon that is the third of four full moons in the space of three months

Lamiat Sabin
Sunday 22 August 2021 00:27
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<p>This image shows the more-common “Blue Moon”, which refers to the second of two full moons in one calendar month </p>

This image shows the more-common “Blue Moon”, which refers to the second of two full moons in one calendar month

The more rare Blue Moon has been making an appearance.

Despite what the name suggests, the Blue Moon is not actually blue. The name either refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, or the third of four full moons that are seen in one season.

The latter known as a “true Blue Moon”, which is the least common out of the two types, is what will be seen around the world this weekend.

BBC Weather said that Sunday is the best time to see August’s full moon – which Native Americans have referred to as the Sturgeon Moon because of the fish that were plentiful in the North American lakes at this time of year.

But skygazers have already spotted the stunning full moon on Saturday night, and posted images of it on social media.

This rarer Blue Moon happens roughly every 2.7 years on average.

The last one was in February 2019, and the next one will not be until August 2024, according to website EarthSky.

It is a much less common occurance than the other type of Blue Moon, which was last seen during Halloween in 2020.

On Saturday night, astronomy fans got a planetary bonus in being able to see the titanic Saturn and Jupiter in the glow of the Blue Moon without the use of a telescope.

Jupiter was best seen with the naked eye between around 1am and 5am as the planet had “excellent visibility” during those times, according to website Time and Date.

Saturn was also visible to the naked eye, with “very good” visibility between around midnight and 4am, the website says.

NASA also said that this weekend’s Blue Moon will be seen mainly on Sunday night. The space agency has reported that the first recorded use of “Blue Moon” in English was in 1528.

American magazine Sky & Telescope has traced the term’s origin back to the Maine Farmers’ Almanac published in the 1930s, which is often used as the source for the names used traditionally for the Moons in the US.

The term “Blue Moon” has made it into an everyday idiom – “once in a blue moon” – as well as the lyrics and name of a famous 1930s song that has since been covered by many famous singers over the decades.

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