December 31, 2009 – New Year’s Eve Blue Moon

On December 31, 2009 there was a “blue moon,” which is the name for the second full moon in a month. (The first full moon of that month was December 2nd and the second was on December 31.) The name does not refer to the moon’s color but reflects the rarity of the event and gives rise to the expression, ‘‘once in a blue moon.’’

The Blue Moon of 1982 was even more special because a total lunar eclipse also occurred (for the United States) then.

The last time there was a blue moon on New Year’s Eve was in 1990, and the next one will be in 2028. Blue moons in general are not frequent. You can see a calendar of all scheduled blue moons here.

The rare phenomenon of two blue moons (using the more recent definitition) occurring in the same year happens approximately once every 19 years. 1999 was the last time a blue moon appeared twice, in January and March. The next year of double monthly blue moons is coming up in January and March, 2018 – and then, after that, in January and March, 2037.

The months of the double blue moons are almost always January and March. That is because the short month that falls in between them, February, is a key ingredient in this once-every-19-year phenomenon. For January and March to each have two full moons, it’s necessary for February to have none at all. Since February is usually 28 days long, and the average span between full moons is 29.5 days, if a full moon occurs at the end of January, it’s possible for the next full moon to skip February entirely and fall in the beginning of March.

Happy New Year’s Eve!!!

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30 Responses to December 31, 2009 – New Year’s Eve Blue Moon

  1. Sandy says:

    Hey! I just learned something today! I was actually checking out that big moon last night while I was out looking for my kitty, and it sure was gorgeous. Should be nice while we are setting off fireworks tonight!

  2. softdrink says:

    Sounds like a good reason to stay home tonight…who knows what could happen!

  3. Amanda says:

    I’d heard tonight will be a blue moon. 🙂

    Happy New Years!

  4. Julie P. says:

    I just love you and your blog! I seem to always learn something!

  5. Funny…I just read about this yesterday. I have a fascination with astronomy and anything celestial. The moon always intrigues me. That must be why I love those vampire/werewolf stories..LOL.
    Happy New Year and Happy Blue Moon.

  6. Pingback: Blue Moon 2009 | SJR

  7. diane says:

    Lovely shot, and you are a wealth of info –thanks.

    Have a great Happy and Healthy New Year.

  8. Margot says:

    Now this was just plain interesting! I had no idea and I’ve lived enough years to have learned this. When I was working with people a lot I noticed the phenomena of full-moon-weirdness. I wonder if they are even weirder during Blue Moon periods. I’ll have to ask some of my HR friends or retail friends.

  9. Margot says:

    Whoops – I meant to wish you and your husband a Happy New Year. Go ahead and do something weird and blame it on the moon.

  10. Darlene says:

    That was interesting. Just popping by to wish you a Happy New Year! All the best to you in 2010!

  11. Alyce says:

    Thanks for all of the blue moon information! I hadn’t thought about February being the cause of blue moons in Jan. and March. It’s not looking like we’ll be able to see the full moon tonight here. It’s pouring rain and it doesn’t look likely to let up anytime soon.

    Happy New Year!

  12. BooksPlease says:

    I always thought Blue Moon wasn’t real!

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  13. ds says:

    Wow, thanks for the information. I had no idea of any of it! But that’s why I come here: there is always something new to be learned. Tonight there will be a full (blue) moon and new snow. Good omens? Hope so!

    Happy New Year to you and yours–I look forward to learning more from you in 2010!

  14. sagustocox says:

    I heard about this on the news today! Fun! I hope you have a great holiday.

  15. bermudaonion says:

    We have lots of reasons to celebrate tonight! Now, if the Hokies can pull out a win in the Chick-Fil-A bowl, my evening will be complete! Happy New Year!

  16. Ti says:

    Happy New Year!! I went shopping and bought all my Game On food but will be leaving for a short, weekend trip, a last hurrah if you will. I bought all this yummy food to eat for tonight and I have ZERO appetite. I am thinking it needs to be eaten before Monday but I don’t plan to pack it up with us so it is going to stare me in the face when I get back on Sunday.

  17. Amber. says:

    why on the website is the moon blue and then when you go outside and look it is not blue at all it looks just like a reagular full moon i was so exsided to be able to see a blue moon but i go outside and i seen nothing so yall need to make it blue or something J|K
    but thanks for all the info…..

  18. Staci says:

    Should go out right now but it’s too cold to look at the moon!!

    Happy new Year!

  19. Bookjourney says:

    I love your posts like this….. we were driving home from dinner tonight and I was staring at the big beautiful full moon…. having no idea until I read this post about the blue moon.

    Very cool.

    Happy New Year! 🙂

  20. Nymeth says:

    So THAT’S where the expression comes from!

  21. here says:

    Love it. Didn’t know where the saying originated. Very insightful. Always thought it was some ancient myth or something similar.

    That picture is lovely too.

  22. Staci says:

    It was so bright and I’m glad that I remembered it was a Blue Moon….

  23. Toni Gomez says:

    Wish I had done something special to commemorate the Blue Moon….I will have to catch the next one. Great Post.

  24. Valerie says:

    Yes…. and my husband and had some Blue Moon beer last night to celebrate it. Then of course there was the champagne later. Didn’t realize it would be such a while until the next blue moon!

  25. Lisa says:

    I believe I will enjoy going out to look at the blue moon in August of 2012 much more than I would have enjoyed going out last night to look at it. It was 3 degrees here!

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  27. Jenners says:

    Well aren’t you just full of interesting facts!! And I always thought a blue moon did refer to a color. Thanks to you, I won’t look like an idiot anymore!

  28. Jenners says:

    Or, rather, I will still look like an idiot but not about this particular topic!

  29. Jenny says:

    I was crushed when I found out a blue moon wasn’t really blue. There was one at some point in elementary school, and I was just desperately excited to see the moon be all blue, and my teacher broke it to me that it wasn’t going to happen – SUCH a letdown!

  30. rebeccareid says:

    this is so fascinating! I already knew about the two full moons thing but I love all the other facts you share. thanks!

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