May 16, 2016 - 9:00 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The term ‘once in a blue moon’ will take on a slightly different meaning this week with the rare event actually set to happen.
The full moon will light the sky Saturday, May 21. This spring full moon is also known as the ‘flower moon’ because of the number of spring flowers which typically appear at this time of year.
Even though it is called a blue moon, it rarely appears blue in colour. Volcanic ash or wildfires are more likely to cause the moon to appear blue, though NASA scientists say the moon is more likely to appear red because of how aerosols in the atmosphere scatter light.
Blue moons only happen every few years and are the result of an ‘extra’ full moon occurring during the season. Full moons occur roughly every 29 days, which typically results in three full moons in a season, when a fourth happens, it is known as a blue moon.
NASA notes the term used to simply mean rare or absurd until the Maine Farmer’s Almanac and author James Hugh Pruett tried to define a blue moon in the 1940s. Though those interpretations were incorrect, the term has been redefined and continues to be used to describe the rare ‘extra’ full moon.
Currently Environment Canada is calling for cloudy skies through Saturday night, which could hamper your view of the blue moon.
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