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Enjoy 'Blue Moon' tomorrow

Bangalore, August 29, 2012, DHNS:

 Bangalore and other Indian cities would witness the “Blue Moon” day on Friday, a rare occurrence in which two full moons are visible in a single calendar month.

According to a note by Mumbai Nehru Planetarium Director Arvind Paranjape, the normal interval between two full moons is twenty-nine-and-a-half days, which is just short of the calendar month with 30 or 31 days, which usually means that there is one full moon each month.

However, when the full moon occurs on the first day of the month, a recurrence is witnessed in the same calendar month.


Though this may happen in any month of the year, February is an unlikely time for a “blue Moon” given that it has only 29 days even on a leap year.

“However, whether a particular place will have a Blue Moon or not, will be determined by its time zone. The exact time of August 31, 2012 full moon to the nearest minute is 7:28 pm IST,” Paranjpye said in the note.  

“Nearly everywhere in the world, it will be the Blue Moon day on August 31. But for places like Auckland or Wellington in New Zealand which are in time zone +12 it will be September 1. These cities will ‘have’ the Blue Moon on September 30.”

The ‘Blue Moon’ occurs roughly once in two and a half years and the last one was witnessed on March 30, 2010.

The term “Blue Moon” is popularised by modern astronomy writers who wanted to draw attention to the ‘second full moon’ in a calendar month, but the term has also crept into the common usage through terms like “once in a blue moon”.

There have also been references to the full moon with blue hue while viewed through the smoke emerging from forest fires or through ashes of erupting volcanoes.

“As we had good rains in many parts across the country the rising full moon of August 31, soon after the sunset should offer a good viewing pleasure. Rains would have washed away the floating dust in the atmosphere and the Moon should look bright and soothing to the eyes,” Paranjpye’s note said.

However, with the on-set of rain over Bangalore and elsewhere leaving a permanent cloud cover over the skies, we could only hope for the curtains to depart to get a glimpse of the Blue Moon on Friday.

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