Once in a blue moon

As I read the news this morning, the headlines are covered with all of the typical sensational stories.  I won’t list any of them here; just check out your favourite news source for the details.

But, there is another story.  Tonight, we’ll see a blue moon.  This is a real rarity and it’s based upon the fact that a lunar cycle is 29.5 days whereas our calendar has months that have different numbers of days in them.  So, from a purely mathematical point of view, every now and again, we will have two full moons in the same month.

Supposedly, if the sky is clear, we’ll see a really unique experience because earth is specially close to the sun for this event.  This could end up with a really beautiful moon.

So, let’s see if we can do something about it.  As you head out for New Years’ Eve events or, if you’re staying at home, step out with your camera or phone and snap a picture.  Share your picture on Twitter and use the hashtag #bluemoon09 and give a rough geographical explanation of where and when you were when you took the picture.  It will only take a second or two.

Following the hashtag tomorrow, if enough people participate, could be very interesting.

Have a Happy New Year.

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Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

4 thoughts on “Once in a blue moon

  1. Great idea, Doug! (Moon here last night lit up the world, despite overcast sky). The fact that folks will more likely to still be awake at midnight means hopefully more will “be up for it.” No doubt a great activity for all those already-assembled “flash mobs” (be sure to leave the flash off tho! LOL)

    If I can be so bold as to tack on an added dimension/appreciation to Doug’s challenge, consult the Internet for your local moonrise time, and see if you can share a good image of the moon as it breaks the horizon. Google “Moon Illusion” for more information and add the hashtag #moonillusion to Doug’s #bluemoon09.

    What a great participatory activity. Wake the kids! Thanks for this, Doug!

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  2. Weather prospects don’t look great here. Astro photo’s are tricky at the best of times. I’ll see what I can do!

    As an aside, there is a bit of a controversy in the astronomy community around the term ‘blue moon’. The modern meaning of 2 full moons in a month is a relatively new phrase that seems to have developed around a mistake make 50 odd years ago. It’s interesting to see how people can trace the heritage of phrases and words, and how fast language changes. There is a full treatment at Sky and Telescope.

    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/3304131.html

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  3. I think it’s just a fun name, Colin. I read one report that dated the phrase back to Shakespeare. Who knew? I just hope that my offering tonight isn’t the worst picture. I do live in the country so there shouldn’t be city lights to get in the road.

    I’m thinking that Times Square might be the worst of the worst places!

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