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What is a blue moon and how rare are they?

What is a blue moon and how rare are they?

BRITAIN'S night skies are set to be illuminated by a special Halloween super moon this evening.This super rare phenomenon is known as a "blue moon", a

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BRITAIN’S night skies are set to be illuminated by a special Halloween super moon this evening.

This super rare phenomenon is known as a “blue moon“, and tonight’s will be the first time it’s visible on October 31 for more than 70 years.

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

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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 full moon?

This spectacle 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.

What is the difference between a supermoon and a blue moon?

It wasn’t until 1979 that Richard Nolle first defined the supermoon, which is now a widely-used term.

The astrologer explained that the phenomenon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”

Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered ‘super’.

Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body’s surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs.

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.

 A supermoon appears significantly bigger than a normal full moon

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A supermoon appears significantly bigger than a normal full moonCredit: Getty Images

When is the next blue moon?

The next blue moon is TONIGHT, on Saturday, October 31 2020 – or Halloween.

It’s the first time a blue moon will be in visible in the Halloween night sky since 1944.

Is a blue moon actually blue?

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.

 Blue moons aren't necessarily blue

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Blue moons aren’t necessarily blueCredit: Getty Images

How long does the blue moon last?

The blue moon should appear in the night skies after nightfall, and last until the following morning.

Weather permitting, this will be the best time to see it.

Blue moons occur when a full moon appears for a second time in the same month.

Why do Manchester City fans sing Blue Moon?

The idea of pre-match chart music getting pumped onto the terraces might sound like a new idea, but it actually dates back to the sixties.

Some fans decided to sing along, and continued even when their song dropped out of the charts – it’s how Liverpool fans ended up singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, how Stoke City fans ended up singing ‘Delilah’, and how Bristol Rovers ended up singing Goodnight Irene’.

Blue Moon became the anthem of choice for The Citizens after Dean Martin’s version of Lorenz Hart’s hit took the fancy of City supporters in the eighties.

Here are the lyrics to the instantly recognisable song:

Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper “Please adore me”
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold!
Blue moon!
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Find out exactly what ‘The Beaver Moon’ is

This post first appeared on Thesun.co.uk

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