Much has been said about ‘Blue Moon’ – or Blue Moon as it is known in English – which takes place this Sunday, but what many do not know is that the rare phenomenon has nothing to do with the color of the natural satellite, but its phase.
The term is designed to define the second full moon in the same month. However, the ‘Blue Moon’ on Sunday night (22) is considered a rare event, as it will be the third full moon in the same season: In 2021, the first full moon of winter occurred on June 24th and the second on July 23rd. The next one takes place this August 22nd.
Despite its name, the phenomenon is not necessarily about the satellite’s bluer coloration — it’s about the fact that this will be the third full moon of the winter of 2021. The phenomenon is so infrequent that it has given rise to the expression “Once in a blue moon” in English, which means “rarely”.
According to the American space agency, NASA, this phenomenon happens every two and a half to three years, that is, the next one should only take place in August 2024, approximately.
Despite the name messing with the imagination, our natural satellite does not change color. In fact, the name is given because it is the second Full moon of the month. At the same time, the culmination of the conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter will take place. The planet will be almost directly above the Moon, look to the East. The last time this happened was on October 31, 2020.
Therefore, the Moon will be ‘full’, which does not take away the spectacle of observing it.
Is it possible to turn bluish?
The Moon can turn blue in very rare cases, such as during volcanic eruptions or forest fires, which send an exaggerated amount of smoke and fine dust into the atmosphere, altering the hue of the light reflected by the satellite.
To be able to observe the phenomena, you can be guided by a compass or an astronomy app on your mobile phone.
In most cases, it is also possible to identify the cardinal points by sunrise and sunset. Just remember that our biggest star rises in the east and sets in the west. Then just stand up and straighten your arms, with the right pointing towards the spring. So you’ll have east right, north ahead, west left, and south behind you.