Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

A lovely image from DeviantArt.

It's the first new year's eve to see a blue moon since 1990 -if you believe in such a thing. There is some discussion about how exactly to define the occurrence of a "blue moon" and various schools of thought have formed.

The numerological school attributes two full moons in a single month to qualify as "blue", but if you listen to farmers, it is either a 13th full moon at the end of the year or the 3rd moon in any particular season.

As those who work the land have been known to do, their ideas are borrowed from ancient practice. The appearances of full moons set the date of important religious observances, such as Easter, and designating any extra moons as blue kept ecclesiastical calendars on track.

Turning to the cooler heads of science, we find a literalist interpretation. In order for a blue moon to occur, the atmosphere must contain particles that are bigger than usual. These chunky bits floating in the air scatter red light and give the moon a bluish tint. The last time such conditions existed was in 1883 when Krakatoa erupted, so unless Dick Cheney's latest outburst counts, there probably isn't enough polluted spew in the air this year to alter Luna's color.

Happy new year -whether your moon is blue, green, paisley or plaid, may it be a blessed event for you and yours.


evangeline said...

Prince's moon is paisley, I bet!

wngl said...

I have no doubt of that fact, Evangeline!

Lidian said...

Or it might be a purple moon, to go with Purple Rain (although paisley contrasts nicely with the purpleness of the rain) -

A very happy New Year to you, I look forward to reading your blog in 2010!