Wednesday night’s ‘Blue Moon’

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5:53 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The term, “A Blue Moon” has been around since 1528.

In both a traditional and modern sense, it has nothing to do with the moon being blue. Instead, it is an actual celestial occurrence which doesn’t happen every day.

A traditional meaning of a blue moon is defined as the third of fourth full moons to appear in one season.

Since the 1940s however that definition changed.

“The contemporary definition of blue moon (is) usually the second of two full moons in one month,” says Paul McFarlane from The Fleischman Planetarium at UNR. “And that goes back to guy writing an article in ‘Sky and Telescope’ magazine.

Such a moon will be occurring Wednesday night.

But the August 30, 2023 moon will be more than just a blue moon. It will also be a super moon.

“This time it is going to be close enough,” says McFarlane. “A little bit, slightly bigger so about 226,000 miles away versus 258,000 miles away from us. So, it will be bigger. It will be a super moon and a blue moon.”

Full moons, which appear twice in one month, occur about every two to three years.

With the traditional definition, a blue moon happens seven times every 19 years. Those calculations mean the next lesser defined blue moon will occur next August 19th of 2024.

However, the next blue moon-supermoon won’t happen until 2037.

Either way it is sliced--a blue moon isn’t a common occurrence.

So, saying “Once in a Blue Moon” could mean very rare, or to a lesser extent infrequently.

Wednesday’s “Blue Moon” can’t and shouldn’t be missed.