By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 28, Aug 2023, 18:08 pm IST | UPDATED: 28, Aug 2023, 18:09 pm IST
All the sky watchers in the house, "once in a blue moon," are actually occurring this week. If you're eager to witness this rare event then mark your calendars for August 30. The phrase "once in a blue moon" refers to an infrequent lunar event, and true to its name, such events are indeed rare. The upcoming lunar event on August 30 will not repeat itself for many years to come.
Despite the term "blue moon," the moon won't actually appear blue; instead, it will take on an orange hue. As the final installment of a four-part supermoon series concludes that night, the super blue moon will be the third largest moon visible this year. While it sounds intriguing, you might be wondering what exactly it entails.
A blue moon refers to the second full moon within a calendar month. Ordinarily, full moons occur approximately every 30 days, resulting in one per month. However, a blue moon appears when there are two full moons within a single month. Despite the name, blue moons have nothing to do with the moon's colour. There are two types of blue moons. The traditional definition, endorsed by NASA, is a seasonal blue moon, which is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. The other definition is a monthly blue moon, referring to the second full moon within a calendar month. This latter definition emerged due to a misunderstanding of the original meaning.
Interestingly, Time and Date now consider the monthly blue moon as a valid second definition, rather than a mistake. Since the average duration of a moon phase is 29.5 days, a year can accommodate 12 lunar cycles, totaling 354 days. Consequently, around every 2.5 years, an additional 13th full moon emerges in a given year. This 13th full moon doesn't fit the typical naming pattern and is termed a Blue Moon.
The Super Blue Moon will be slightly bigger in size, and its increased brightness will catch the attention of skygazers. Supermoons appear 40 per cent bigger and 30 per cent more bright. This is what makes a supermoon special.
For the optimal viewing of a full moon, it's recommended to observe it shortly after sunset during the dusk hours. The Super Blue Moon is set to reach its peak brightness on August 30, 2023, precisely at 8:37 pm. EDT. The moonrise aligns with the best evening hours for moon-watching, particularly during twilight. European viewers have an extra opportunity on August 31, as the moon's rise occurs slightly later than on Wednesday, providing another chance to see the moon.
In London, the moon will rise at 8:08 pm. BST, coinciding with the 7:54 pm. BST sunset. Meanwhile, New York sees the moonrise at 7:45 pm. EDT and moonset at 7:33 pm. EDT, with the full moon shining at 8:37 pm. EDT. In Los Angeles, both moonrise and sunset are at 7:36 pm. PDT, while the full moon graces the sky at 5:37 pm. PDT. On August 31, 2023, expect a 7:52 p.m. BST sunset and 8:24 pm. BST moonrise in London, while the full moon makes its appearance at 1:37 am. BST.