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“Blue” ‘606 day

24 Dec 2009, 19:36 UTC
“Blue” ‘606 day
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The traditional definition of a “Blue” moon is the third Full Moon in a season containing four full moons rather than the usual three. In 1946, Sky and Telescope Magazine inadvertently launched a new, somehow more modern definition of a “Blue” moon as the second Full Moon to occur in a calendar month.
On the scale of urgency, the correct definition of a Blue Moon ranks favorably with such matters of astronomical concern as whether Pluto is a planet. I thus have to admit, that I immediately dropped what I was doing to answer a reporter’s e-mail query:
I read several accounts that the phenomenon will occur on New Year’s Eve based on the recent definition. Do you know if that’s accurate?
I answered:
The short answer is that we here in the United States will indeed be having a Blue Moon on New Year’s Eve according to the currently popular definition of a Blue Moon as “the second Full Moon to occur in a calendar month”.
Here’s the back story: The times at which the Moon is full (which occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon form a line as viewed from above) can be calculated with great precision ...

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