The weather’s uncomfortably hot, but at least Mother Nature is compensating a bit by also offering us some great moon viewing this week. Last night’s was definitely a treat, but predictions are that tonight’s Blue Super Moon will be even more stunning.
The event is a confluence of two distinctive moons – a blue moon and a super moon. According to the New York Times yesterday, a blue moon “is the second of two full moons in a single month. Each month usually hosts only one full moon, but blue moons sometimes arise because the lunar cycle is 29.5 days long — just short of the length of an average calendar month. This difference means that some months see two full moons.” (And now we understand the phrase “once in a blue moon” a lot better!)
Further, according to the NYT, “A super moon occurs when the full moon phase of the lunar cycle syncs up with the perigee, or when it is nearest to the Earth. Super moons appear brighter and bigger than regular full moons. According to NASA, the apparent size increase is 14 percent, which is about the difference between a nickel and a quarter.”
And tonight, we’re supposed to get both…a blue super moon, which is especially rare. According to the LA Times, “NASA reports that about a quarter of full moons qualify as “supermoons,” but only 3% of full moons are blue moons. There can be a gap of as many as 20 years between occurrences of super blue moons, and the next super blue moon after Wednesday’s is not expected until 2037.”
Peak moon viewing time for the west coast should be about 7:36 p.m. this evening, so if you’re around, be sure to glance skyward. Even if it’s still uncomfortably warm at that time, it should be well worth your while to venture outside.