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Once in a (Super) Blue Moon

Tomorrow there will be a Super Blue Moon. Although the Moon won't appear blue, it will be larger than normal. Why is it super and why is it not blue? Well, let me tell you:

  • A Super Moon appears 7% larger than a regular Full Moon. This is because the Moon's orbit isn't a perfect circle.

  • Tomorrow at 11:55am EDT the Moon will be at its closest point to Earth (at Perigee).

  • A Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a month. This doesn’t happen too often because the Moon's phase is 29.53 days.

  • Back in 1946 the term Blue Moon was incorrectly interpreted. The mistake was repeated so many times that it eventually stuck. A real Blue Moon only occurs when there's significant dust in the air. Large volcanic eruptions are one example.

  • A Super Blue Moon occurs on average about once every ten years.

Myth buster alert. Have you ever noticed the size of the Moon when it first rises. It seems so big compared to when it's higher in the sky. But, sorry to ruin it for you, the size of the Moon's seeming bigness is an illusion. It's the way our brains process visual information. Do an internet search on "Moon Illusion" to find out more.

Pop Quiz: What month can never have a Blue Moon?


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