Rare ‘Blue Moon’ on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve a rare ‘Blue Moon’ will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. In Australia and Asia the full moon doesn’t show up until New Year’s Day.
According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. The first full moon occurred on Dec. 2nd. Don’t expect the moon to appear blue – the name has nothing to do with the color.
The popular definition of blue moon came from a writer for Sky and Telescope magazine in 1946 who misinterpreted the Maine Farmer’s Almanac and labeled a blue moon as the second full moon in a month. In fact, the almanac defined a blue moon as the third full moon in a season with four full moons, not the usual three.
The Eastern Hemisphere will also see a partial lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve. That is when part of the moon enters the Earth’s shadow. Since it is a partial eclipse, the moon will just brush past the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, never completely going away. The moon will be deep enough into the shadow that shading and reddish color should be visible. Unfortunately the eclipse will not be visible in North or South America.
A full moon occurs every 29.5 days. On average, an extra full moon in a month – a blue moon – occurs every 2.5 years. New Year’s Eve blue moons seem to occur every 19 years. The last time was in 1990 and the next one won’t come again until 2028.