Have you ever heard of a blue moon?
Contrary to what you might think, it has nothing to do with the color of the moon.
In fact, a blue moon is a rare event that occurs when there are two full moons in a single calendar month. But that’s not all. Keep reading to learn more about blue moons and when you can see them.
What is a Blue Moon?
As mentioned, a blue moon is the second full moon that occurs within a single calendar month.
Typically, there are 12 full moons in a year, with one occurring every month. But since the lunar cycle is around 29.5 days long, there are some months where two full moons can occur.
When that happens, the second full moon is known as the blue moon.
What is a Seasonal Blue Moon?
A seasonal blue moon is a bit different. It occurs when there are three full moons in a season (between a solstice and an equinox), with the fourth moon being the blue moon.
This happens because the lunar cycle is not perfectly aligned with the solar cycle.
How Often Do Blue Moons Occur?
Blue moons are rare, but not as rare as you might think.
On average, they occur about once every 2.7 years.
However, there can be long stretches without a blue moon.
For example, there were no blue moons in 2010, 2011, 2016, or 2017.
When is the Next Blue Moon?
The next blue moon is coming up soon! In fact, it will happen on August 30th, 2023 at 9:35 PM EST (2:35 AM UTC on August 31st). Here’s a table of upcoming blue moons:
|Year||Month||Blue Moon Dates||UTC Time|
|2023||August||Friday, August 30, 2023||2:35 AM UTC|
|2024||August||Monday, August 19, 2024||7:26 PM UTC|
|2026||May||Sunday, May 31, 2026||9:45 AM UTC|
|2027||May||Thursday, May 20, 2027||11:59 AM UTC|
|2029||August||Thursday, August 23, 2029||02:51 UTC|
When was the Last Blue Moon?
The last blue moon occurred on August 22nd, 2021 at 08:02 EST. Here’s a table of recent blue moons:
|Year||Month||Day of the Week||Past Blue Moons|
|2021||August||Sunday||August 22, 2021 08:02 EST|
|2020||October||Saturday||October 31, 2020 09:49 EST|
|2019||May||Saturday||May 18, 2019 17:11 EST|
|2018||January||Wednesday||January 31, 2018 08:27 EST|
|2018||March||Saturday||March 31, 2018 08:37 EST|
|2015||July||Friday||July 31, 2015 06:43 EST|
|2012||August||Friday||August 31, 2012 09:58 EST|
Blue Moons in 2018
While blue moons occur about once every 2.7 years on average, 2018 was a particularly special year for blue moons.
Two blue moons occurred in the same year, with one happening in January and the other in March.
The January blue moon was on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 08:27 EST, and the March blue moon was on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 08:37 EST.
It was a rare treat for sky-watchers and anyone who appreciates the beauty of the night sky.
When was the last Halloween Blue Moon?
A Halloween blue moon occurs when there is a blue moon on Halloween, which is October 31st. The last Halloween blue moon occurred on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 09:49 EST.
It was a special treat for Halloween lovers and moon enthusiasts alike, as a full moon on Halloween only happens about once every 19 years.
When is the next Seasonal Blue Moon?
A seasonal blue moon occurs when there are four full moons in a season, with the third full moon being the blue moon. The next seasonal blue moon will be on Monday, August 19, 2024 at 2:26 PM EST (7:26 PM UTC). The 2024 summer season will have four full moons, with the third one being considered the seasonal blue moon. It’s a rare event that sky-watchers won’t want to miss.
In conclusion, blue moons are rare and beautiful events that happen when there are two full moons in a single calendar month or when there are four full moons in a season.
While they may not actually be blue in color, they are still a sight to behold and a reminder of the wonder of the natural world.
Keep an eye out for the next blue moon and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the night sky.