A Rare Sight To See; Blue Moon

By Luke Phillips
Late-night revelers, staying up to ring in the New Year this past Thursday, where treated to a rare astronomical event: A New Year’s Eve Blue Moon.
The Blue Moon itself occurs on a relatively regular basis, but rarely coincides with New Year’s Eve. The last time the two events synced up was in 1990 and the next time will be in 2028.
The blue moon, or the second full moon in a month, has nothing to do with the color of the moon, and in fact is a fairly new term. The term, in  the context of an extra full moon, first surfaced in the 1980s. Before that it was used mainly as an obvious absurdity, as in ‘he would argue that the moon is blue’, similar to the modern saying ‘he would argue that black is white’. It was also used as a way to say ‘never’, as in ‘That will happen when the moon turns blue’, similar to the modern saying ‘When pigs fly’.
For hundreds of years, the phrase has also been used in the literal sense. Smoke from volcanic eruptions or forest fires can literally turn the moon a bluish color.
In some parts of the world a partial lunar eclipse was also visible during the New Years Eve Blue Moon. The next time this event occurs, in 2028, it will be accompanied by a full lunar eclipse.

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