A Rare Blue Moon Tonight!

NEXT ONE WONT BE UNTIL 2018!

We are in for something special and rare tonight/early Friday; we will have a Blue Moon! No, not the Blue Moon you order at the bar, but instead it refers to the moon in the sky! The last time that we witnessed a “Blue Moon” was in August of 2012, three years ago. And after tomorrow night, our next sighting won’t be until January 2018, and so the saying, “Once in a Blue Moon”.

Contrary to its name, the moon won’t actually appear blue, but the reason it is called a “Blue Moon” is because it is the second full moon in a given calendar month. Normally we have only one full moon per month, but every once in a while a second sneaks in. Full moons are separated by 29 days, and most months are 30 or 31 days long (Sorry February, but you’ll never see a Blue Moon). This happens every two and a half years, on average. While it is just the name of the event, there have been times when the moon does take on a bluish hue. That is due to smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere, such as during a cataclysmic volcanic eruption.

According to CNN: “The most recent blue moon that was truly blue in hue was in Edinburgh, Scotland, in September 1950. Astronomer Robert Wilson of the Royal Observatory observed the event and concluded that the moon was blue in color because the satellite’s light was traveling through a patch of clouds that had particles of smoke and ash from forest fires burning in Alberta, Canada. Those particles crossed the Atlantic Ocean and hovered over Scotland during the lunar event, creating a rare spectacle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

If you are a star gazer or moon watcher, you’re in for a great show! The official time that the moon will be full over eastern South Dakota is 5:45am CDT on Friday morning (July 31st). The great news is that skies are expected to be CRYSTAL CLEAR overnight tonight and early Friday. Below is the KDLT overnight forecast.

So get your cameras ready and snap some pictures! If you do get a great shot, make sure you send it to @KDLTweather on Twitter or our Facebook page! Enjoy the show!

-Brandon Spinner
Chief Meteorologist