• Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Last ‘Super Blue Moon’ until 2037 captured in India and globally

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Astronomy enthusiasts were treated to a delightful experience on Wednesday, August 30, as a rare celestial event, known as a Super Blue Moon graced the skies worldwide.

The Super Blue Moon as seen in the sky above the India Gate, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

Supermoons occur when the moon reaches its perigee, the point closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit, making it appear approximately 14 per cent larger and slightly brighter than when it is at its farthest point.

The convergence of a supermoon and a blue moon is an infrequent occurrence, making the moon on that Wednesday night a rare sight.

A full blue moon rises behind the San Francisco skyline on August 30, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Super blue moons typically happen approximately once every decade, according to NASA, and the next one is not expected until January 2037.

This particular supermoon earned its distinction by being the second full moon in the month of August, following the first on August 1.

Despite the term “blue Moon,” it does not indicate the moon’s colour; rather, it signifies the occurrence of two full moons within a single calendar month, a phenomenon made possible because lunar cycles are slightly shorter at 29.5 days compared to the 30 or 31 days in a calendar month.

The ‘Blue Supermoon’ sets over Nablus city in the occupied West Bank early on September 1, 2023. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

It is possible, however, for the Moon to take on a blue hue in the right circumstances. This can occur as a result of smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere scattering red wavelengths of life, such as following the eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883.

Dust from the event “turned sunsets green and the Moon blue all around the world for the best part of two years,” according to Sky & Telescope magazine. A more recent example may have occurred after 1950’s Chinchaga Firestorm, a huge blaze that consumed the northern boreal forests of Canada.

Birds fly as the ‘Blue Supermoon’ sets over Nablus city in the occupied West Bank early on September 1, 2023. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

The last super blue Moon appeared in December 2009, with the next set to happen in close succession in January and March of 2037.

The English expression “once in a blue Moon,” signifying something exceptionally rare, has its roots dating back hundreds of years, where it was used to describe someone making outlandish or absurd claims.

The Super Blue Moon as seen in the sky besides South city high-rise residential complex in Kolkata, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)

Full Moons are defined by the exact moment they are opposite the Sun. Reportedly, the blue moon was at its brightest around 9:30 pm (IST), while the blue super moon reached its peak brightness at approximately 7:30 a.m. (IST) on August 31.

The worldwide visuals of the super blue moon indeed provided a rare spectacle.

(With inputs from AFP)


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