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What is a Blue Moon and when is the next one? – The Sun

A RARE Blue Moon should be in the night sky over the UK this weekend

The phenomenon known as a “blue moon” occurs when there is a second full moon in the same calendar month.

 Every 29.5 days, we see the moon's full face and each month's full moon has a special name


Every 29.5 days, we see the moon’s full face and each month’s full moon has a special nameCredit: Reuters

What is a Blue Moon?

A full moon occurs when the earth comes directly between the sun and the moon.

It happens every 29 and a half days, and each month’s full moon has a special name.

This is because Native American tribes kept track of the months of the year by the lunar calendar.

A Blue Moon is the name of any month’s second full moon – an event that only occurs once every three years.

It led to people coining the phrase “once in a blue moon”, meaning something that doesn’t happen very often.

When is the next Blue Moon?

The next Blue Moon is tonight, on Saturday, August 21, 2021.

Tonight’s moon is a seasonal Blue Moon, meaning it’s the third of four full moons in a season (the time between a solstice and an equinox).

Blue moons aren’t actually blue – the confusion is because the term originates in “blewe”, the old English word for “betrayer”.

Normally, a year would have 12 moons, but when a moon appears for the 13th time – it was perceived to have ‘betrayed’ the lunar cycle.

However, a moon can appear blue if the right kind of dust is kicked up into the atmosphere, and filtering out excessive red light.

 A full Blue Moon only occurs every two to three years


A full Blue Moon only occurs every two to three yearsCredit: Getty

How often is a Blue Moon?

A Blue Moon does not usually happen more than once a year.

Generally, Blue Moons come around once every two or three years.

The next  Blue Moon will occur in August 2023.

What does a Blue Moon mean?

Folklore often associates a Blue Moon with the growth of knowledge and wisdom within the phases of a woman’s life.

The moon generally being connected with the feminine.

Although generally there is no particular association with a Blue Moon although spiritualists and pagans see it as a particularly magical time.

Find out exactly what ‘The Beaver Moon’ is

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