raising little ones in the great outdoors

Outdoor Classroom: Blue Moon

As you celebrate the end of the a decade, and ring in the new year, take a moment to glance your eyes skyward towards the moon. It will be full for the second time this month, making it a blue moon. I grew up thinking blue moons were rare, probably because my mom used the phrase, “Once in a blue moon,” when describing the possibility that she would try downhill skiing. I’ve noticed that they seem to come around every few years; surely she should have made it out on the ski hill by now.

In fact, a blue moon (by modern definition two full moons in one month) occurs about once every 2.7 years. The next one occurs in August 2012.  Alternatively, the farmer’s almanac defines a blue moon as “an extra full moon that occurred in a season; one season was normally three full moons.” Traditional folklore gave each moon a name according to its time of year. A moon that came early had no folk name – and was called a blue moon – bringing the correct seasonal timings for future moons.

Even though the rarity of blue moons is dubious, it’s a great excuse to go outside after dark in the winter. So bundle up, and make a wish. Because the next time a blue moon occurs on New Years Eve your kids might just be out of the house (December 31, 2028).

~Becca Cahall

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One Response to “Outdoor Classroom: Blue Moon”

  1. Roy Scribner says:

    Our moon was gorgeous last night, with some whispy clouds around it. It looks like it will be clear skies tonight and the kids are excited about going outside to see the blue moon again.

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