An incredibly rare “Blue Moon” occurs tonite, along with a partial lunar eclipse, something that did not occur at all in the 20th century on a New Year’s Eve, and which won’t occur again until 2028. Of course, for you youngsters, the moon will not actually be the color blue. It is a turn of phrase, the most famous being:
……Once in a blue moon………
Which means, once in a while under the most rare of circumstances. Well, those rare circumstances are occurring tonite – once in 19 years, to be exact.
There is a very old southern grandmother’s tall tale that goes like this:
“Anyone who you meet and kiss on a blue moon, that person you are destined to marry.”
So… ladies, gentlemen, be careful who you kiss this evening to ring in the new year – since the magical grip of this most rare lunar eclipse and Blue Moon is at hand, plus the added mystery of the partial lunar eclipse, you may end up married to the person you kiss to ring in the new year, for better or worse.
And if you are already married, grab your spouse at that magic midnight moment and plant the kiss that will secure, bless and safeguard your marriage for another 19 years. The Blue Moon is nothing to take lightly for us died in the wool southerners, and the Blue Moon, on New Years’ Eve, and a partial lunar eclipse to boot, is just downright mystical. For the recklessly single, who kiss without too much thought for the consequences, guard your soul and your lips, lest the man or woman you least want to marry sees you at 11:59 pm and makes a beeline across the crowded room to kiss you at the strike of midnight, and make you theirs for 19 years against your will. ( Hmmmm. There is a screenplay in here somewhere. I feel it.)
I’m just curious….with all the horrendous romantic karma that Tiger Woods, has accrued in the past 19 years, who will he be kissing tonite? His karma may come calling.
This New Year’s Eve may as well be named “The Night of the Scorned Woman’s Revenge” for some. For others it might be called “The Most Magical Night for New Romance in 19 Years!”
(The partial lunar eclipse will not be visible from North America. It is visible from Europe, Africa and Asia.)
Once in a blue moon, as the saying goes, there are two full moons in a single calendar month, which NASA says happens every 2.5 years. A blue moon on New Year’s Eve is much rarer, last happening in 1990. Even rarer, though, is the partial lunar eclipse that will accompany the blue moon.
Not only is the decade going to end on a blue moon—the second appearance of a full moon in a calendar month—but also a partial eclipse of the moon, at least for sky watchers in Europe, Africa and Asia. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is partially darkened by the Earth’s shadow.
Most months, of course, have only one full moon, but the 29.5-day lunar cycle occasionally forces a second full moon into the 28-to-31-day length of calendar months. The last time a blue moon occurred on New Year’s Eve was in 1990.
In fact, blue moons are not all that rare. On average there will be one blue moon every 2.5 years. What is rare is a partial lunar eclipse on New Year’s Eve: It didn’t happen at all in the 20th century and the phenomenon will not occur on New Year’s Eve again until 2028.
The partial eclipse will be visible throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Brazil and Australia. Some parts of Canada and the United States will also get to see a glimpse of this eclipse, but overcast skies are expected over most the United States.
As for the origin of the term blue moon, according to a NASA statement Dec. 29, the modern definition came about back in the 1940s when “the Farmer’s Almanac of Maine offered a definition of blue moon so convoluted that even professional astronomers struggled to understand it. It involved factors such as the ecclesiastical dates of Easter and Lent, and the timing of seasons according to the dynamical mean sun. Aiming to explain blue moons to the layman, Sky & Telescope published an article in 1946 entitled ‘Once in a Blue Moon,'” which laid the basis for the modern definition.
Once in a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve — or Not?
Second Full Moon of the Month Will Ring in 2010
By KI MAE HEUSSNER
Dec. 31, 2009
New Year’s Eve is never dull. But nights like tonight happen
just once in a blue moon.
The term “blue moon” now refers to the second full moon in a month, but folklorists say the phrase has a long and rich history.
Not only will a full moon light up the festive evening, but a so-called blue moon will help ring in 2010 for revelers in the Western hemisphere.
So while you’re out carousing with friends or family, take a break from your champagne and noisemakers to look up at the night sky.
You may see the “blue moon,” but you won’t see the moon awash in the color blue.
But while that is how most people define the phrase now, folklorists say it wasn’t always the case.
The Moon Does Appear Blue on Rare Occasions
“The term has been around a long time,” said Philip Hiscock, a professor of folklore at Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland. “The earliest uses of that term really meant something like never … an impossibility.”
The first indications of the phrase, he said, date back about 600 years and might have described absurdities, as in, “He’d have you believe the moon was blue.”
But later, in the 19th century, as people noticed that on occasion the moon actually did look a little blue in color, say after a volcanic eruption or forest fire, Hiscock said “blue moon” morphed into meaning something rare and fairly random.
“That today is still the major usage of the term,” he said. “The moon does actually appear blue from time to time, but it is actually quite rare. It worked well with the phrase.”
After Indonesia’s Mount Krakatoa erupted in 1883, people looking up at the night sky might have seen a moon that appeared blue as light shone through the volcanic ash. Wildfires, like those that frequently plague the western United States, also could appear to give the moon a blue tint.
The less astronomically-inclined might note that the phrase has also spread to music, commerce and even cocktails.
Crooner Elvis Presley recorded both the melancholy ballad “Blue Moon” and the bluegrass hit “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” And come happy hour, your barkeep might offer you a pint of “Blue Moon” beer or a flirty “Blue Moon” cocktail.