Saturday, August 18, 2012

Red Moon, Blue Moon

In addition to August's reputation as the best time of the year
for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere 
to view the stars and galaxies 
during the month's warm nights and quiet predawn hours, 
August 2012 holds another colorful distinction for us. 
It has two full moons.
The first full moon of August, which occurred August 2nd, is called the red moon.
This is according to the site 
Moon Connection attributes the name to the sometimes ruddy appearance
 of the moon when it's swathed in summer's haze.
I can't recall having ever seen a reddish cast to an August moon,
but I like the idea that our weather here can change our visual perception 
of the moon and the stars.

Ironically, the red moon of August 2012 is shortly followed by a blue moon
on the 31st day of the month.
Like a lot of people, I always thought a blue moon was exceptionally rare.
But according to the Moon Connection site,
the blue moon occurs in any calendar season with four full moons.
When that occurs, the fourth full moon would be called the blue moon.

It would be fun if the month of August 
had started with a bright rose-red full moon.
and ended with a full moon as deep blue as a field of Texas bluebells.
People would have come out of their houses and gazed into the sky
with their telescopes, binoculars, and cameras.
It would have been a sensation.
As it is, the second full moon of August will appear in a gown of  luminous silver. 
And that's pretty spectacular in itself.

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