August 2012 is a month with two full moons. And, by popular acclaim, that means it’s a Blue Moon month – but Blue in name only. That’s because a Blue Moon is sometimes defined as the second full moon in a calendar month. The first full moon was August 1. The second full moon is today – August 31, 2012. The second full moon of August 2012 is the Blue Moon. Happy Blue Moon, everyone!
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There are two more definitions for Blue Moon. It can be the third of four full moons in a single season. Or, someday, you might see an actual blue-colored moon.
The August 31 Blue Moon will not be blue in color. This photo was created using special filters. This August 2012 Blue Moon will be called Blue because it is the second full moon of a month. Image via EarthSky Facebook friend Jv Noriega.
It’s very rare that you would see a blue-colored moon, although unusual sky conditions – certain-sized particles of dust or smoke – can create them. Blue-colored moons aren’t predictable. So don’t be misled by the photo above. The sorts of moons people commonly call Blue Moons aren’t usually blue. For more about truly blue-colored moons, click here.
Now on to folklore’s Blue Moons. Every month typically has a full moon (although sometimes February doesn’t). In fact, our word for “month” comes from the word “moon.” Most of the time, the names for full moons coincide with particular months or seasons of the year. So whether you define a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month – or the third full moon of four in a season – the name Blue Moon accounts for times when there are more full moons than is ordinary.
Blue moon as second full moon in a month. In recent decades, many people have begun using the name Blue Moon to describe the second full moon of a calendar month.
The time between one full moon and the next is close to the length of a calendar month. So the only time one month can have two full moons is when the first full moon happens in the first few days of the month. This happens every 2-3 years, so these sorts of Blue Moons come about that often.
When is the next Blue Moon, according to this first definition? August 31, 2012.
Another beautiful image by our friend Jv Noriega – the moon among fast-moving clouds. Will the August 31 full moon be blue in color like this? No. This image was made using blue filters, too. Thank you, Jv!
The idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month stemmed from the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, which contained an article called “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett. Pruett was using a 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, but he simplified the definition. He wrote:
Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.
EarthSky’s Deborah Byrd happened upon a copy of this old 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope in the stacks of the Peridier Library at the University of Texas Astronomy Department in the late 1970s. Afterward, she began using the term Blue Moon to describe the second full moon in a calendar month on the radio. Later, this definition of Blue Moon was also popularized by a book for children by Margot McLoon-Basta and Alice Sigel, called “Kids’ World Almanac of Records and Facts,” published in New York by World Almanac Publications, in 1985. The second-full-moon-in-a-month definition was also used in the board game Trivial Pursuit.
Can there be two blue moons in a single calendar year? Yes. It last happened in 1999. There were two full moons in January and two full moons in March and no full moon in February. So both January and March had Blue Moons.
The next year of double blue moons is coming up in 2018.
What most call a Blue Moon isn’t blue in color. It’s only Blue in name. This great moon photo from EarthSky Facebook friend Rebecca Lacey in Cambridge, Idaho.
Blue moon as third full moon of four in a season. The Old Farmer’s Almanac defined a Blue Moon as an extra full moon that occurred in a season. One season – winter, spring, fall, summer – typically has three full moons. If a season has four full moons, then the third full moon may be called a Blue Moon.
The next blue moon by this definition will fall on August 21, 2013.
In recent years, a controversy has raged – mainly among purists – about which Blue Moon definition is better. The idea of a Blue Moon as the third of four in a season may be older than the idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month. Is it better? Is one definition right and the other wrong? After all, this is folklore. So the folk get to decide, and, in the 21st century, both sorts of full moons have been called Blue.
As the folklorist Phillip Hiscock wrote in his comprehensive article Folklore of the Blue Moon:Old folklore it is not, but real folklore it is.
So enjoy Blue Moons!
Bottom line: A blue-colored moon is rare. But folklore has defined two different kinds of Blue Moons. A Blue Moon can be the second full moon in a month. Or it can be the third of four full moons in a season. The full moon of August 31, 2012 will be considered a Blue Moon.
By: Mike Wall from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/27/blue-moon-friday-august-31_n_1832732.html
Published: 08/27/2012 07:32 AM EDT on SPACE.com
Skywatchers should circle Friday (Aug. 31) on their calendars, for the date offers the last chance to see a so-called “blue moon” for nearly three years.
The moon reaches its full phase at 9:58 a.m. EDT (1358 GMT) Friday, marking the second full moon of August (the previous one occurred Aug. 1). Stargazers won’t be able to see two full moons in a single month again until July 2015.
Friday’s full moon won’t actually be blue, unless a load of dust or ash in the atmosphere lends it that particular hue from your vantage point. In any event, blue moons aren’t named for their color, and they look like any other full moon in the sky most of the time.
Rather, the term has always been associated with an “extra” full moon. In the first half of the 20th century, for example, it apparently referred to the third full moon of a season — spring, summer, winter or fall — that boasted four full moons instead of the usual three.
But that definition was misinterpreted over the years, and today we call the second full moon in a single month a “blue moon.”
The phrase “once in a blue moon” suggests that the celestial phenomenon is exceedingly rare, but that’s not the case. Blue moons come along once every 2.7 years on average, and sometimes much more frequently. In 1999, for example, blue moons occurred in both January and March (with no full moon in February).
Blue moons exist because our calendar months aren’t perfectly synched up with lunar months.
It takes 29.5 days for the moon to orbit Earth, during which time we see the satellite go through all of its phases. But all calendar months (except February) have 30 or 31 days, so occasionally two full moons get squeezed into a single month.
Like this August. Or this September, if you live in the Kamchatka region of the Russian Far East or New Zealand. In those locales, Friday’s full moon actually occurs after midnight on Saturday (Sept. 1), making the following full moon — which comes along Sept. 30 — the blue one.
If you snap any good photos of Friday’s full moon and would like them to be considered for a future story or gallery, please send them to SPACE.com managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook and Google+.
Blue Moon 31 August 2012
The Full Moon on August 31 is a rare blue moon. This means that we get two full moons in a month, this happens every two or three years. This Blue Moon will be at 8º Pisces on the fixed star Skat in constellation Aquarius and conjunctChiron. The Blue moon has no astrological significance whatsoever, but like minor planet Eris, it does cause quite a stir. The extra blue moon gives us 13 moons in the course of a year instead of twelve. This complicates matters for monks calculating Christian holidays. So a Blue moon is an oddity, a misfit, and it annoys the pants off monks.. “Unlucky 13”, Ophiuchius the left-out 13th sign, Eris being the uninvited 13th fairy in Sleeping beauty. 13 is always the exiled, the unwanted and the one that doesn’t fit in.
This full moons aspects lend it self to the unusual and the eccentric because it is conjunct Chiron the centaur. Chiron too was a misfit, being the geek of the centaurs, while the rest were boozy, lusty louts. Chiron however, studied and became a tutor to the Greek mythical heroes. The full moons fixed star on Skat in Aquarius is not known for being conformist either and like Chiron, likes to spread knowledge.
Moon sextile Pluto needs to “channel this intense, penetrating and occasionally ruthless energy into something creative.” otherwise this energy can become surprising destructive as we can see in the list of famous and infamous with this aspect. With those who make a success of it “The artistic products are not going to be light hearted or bubble-gum, they will have the tinge of the underworld to them, be powerful or even political. The work could be profound and involve deep exploration of ones shadow and any taboo sexual proclivities.”. On a collective level, this is useful because of the Blue Moon’s conjunction to Chiron will give us the opportunity to expose and heal any psychological complexes. With this Blue Moon we are giving the opportunity to let our body speak to us and tell us about the state of our mind.
Uranus square Pluto will be activated by this Blue Moon, they are about bringing down redundant power structures and challenging unequal sexual relationships. If there has been a feeling of “Enough is enough” in relationships, a square will certainly force the issue where a trine would just sit back and put up with it. The Moon and Chiron are mediators in an aspect pattern that falls right through this historic Uranus/Pluto square.
August Blue Moon Horoscope
The Blue Moon forms part of an aspect pattern in the chart known as a“Streamer” , which gives the ability to flow towards any direction in a river without loosing balance. This is streaming in any sense, whether it is laying cables, directing traffic or generating fashion trends. The Blue Moon opposition and the Uranus square Pluto are controlling powerful forces. This could be how we the public can be so easily manipulated because sometimes it’s just easier to let others make decisions for us. Chiron is conjunct this full Moon, so it also opposes the Sun. This can highlight in our own charts where we have the tendency to abdicate power to an external force by relying too much on our mentors or gurus.
The streaming can also be the river that flows out of Aquarius’s urn. It is interesting that that Skatgives “gives good fortune and lasting happiness and also it is said to indicate safety in a deluge.” It is considered a fortunate star and like a lot of the stars in constellation Aquarius, it does give occult interests and psychic ability. Use this Blue Moon to plug into to the stream of consciousness; maybe we can download some valuable information for our souls evolution. There is a T-square to the Nodes from Mercury opposite Neptune with Lilith on the South Node so we could receive messages from other realms to aid in humanities spiritual evolution.
Blue Moon Meaning
The overall feel of this Blue Moon is a good one. This Full Moons brings things seeded at the “Rude Muse” New Moon to a head. The August 17 moon was a bright new start after a series of heavy lunations. The Sabian for this Blue Moon is “The Race begins: Intent on outdistancing his rivals, a jockey spurs his horse to great speed”. Sometimes competitiveness spurs one on to achieve excellence; winning a qualifying race will give you a better lane. The higher one ranks among ones peers, the bigger platform you have for displaying your work. But if one focus too much on ones rivals and what is popular, the integrity of the work can also suffer. It’s no use working in a vacuum with work that is so self-indulgent that is does not connect with the public at all, this is where being the 13th fairy or misfit can work against you.
Whatever the battle raging in our personal or professional lives then, one has to be aware of the games being played in order to stand a chance of winning. With Pluto square Uranus in the mix it is not enough to say, “I’m a good person, why do bad things happen to me? I keep out of trouble.”Being passive and letting things slide around you is just as spiritually irresponsible as wilfully provoking fights. The message of this moon then is to be vigilant, be a watcher over your own behaviour and that of others. Observe where non-action and denial from one individual is allowing another to abuse and commit evil.
1. Aspect Pattern Astrology. Bruno and Louise Huber. Michael Alexander Huber. Pg 235.
New Moon August 2012 < Blue Full Moon August 2012 > New Moon September 2012.