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CINDY DAY: May moon might make you blue

The full moon rising over Saint John, N.B. does not look blue but it was.  The photo was submitted by Jim Carroll and taken the evening of January 31st, 2018. This Full Old Moon was the second full month of the month;  the first was on the first and was the Full Wolf Moon.  This is referred to as a calendar blue moon.
The full moon rising over Saint John, N.B. does not look blue but it was. The photo was submitted by Jim Carroll and taken the evening of January 31st, 2018. This Full Old Moon was the second full month of the month; the first was on the first and was the Full Wolf Moon. This is referred to as a calendar blue moon. - Contributed

The weekend is upon us. Not just any old weekend, the Victoria Day Weekend or the May long weekend or even the May “24” weekend... Call it what you like, for many it’s the unofficial start to summer.

Cindy Day
Cindy Day

It’s always a busy weekend; some people spend it in the garden, some on the golf course, while others just wander the streets of our many picturesque villages, towns and cities. It just feels good to get out.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve no doubt been hearing about all kinds of wonderful events planned to keep you busy and entertained this weekend. Some of them are expensive, some involve getting in a car and driving, but there is one event that takes place Saturday evening that is free and you don’t necessarily have to leave your yard. At 6:11 p.m. ADT (6:41 NDT) May’s Flower Moon officially turns 100-per-cent full. This particular full moon is also referred to as a “Blue Moon.”

Most people know the Blue Moon as the second full moon in a calendar month. On average, that happens every two and a half years. If you check the calendar, you’ll find only one full moon this month. So what’s going on?

There is another definition for a Blue Moon, which is what today’s moon is. Typically, each of the four seasons contains three full moons. However, sometimes a season will have four. When that happens, the third full moon of the season is designated as a Blue Moon.

first full moon of the spring of 2019 came just hours after the vernal equinox on March 20. The next full moon was April 19, today we celebrate the Full Flower Moon and finally the full moon next month will be on June 17.

The third full moon in a season that has four is today’s Blue Moon. This “seasonal” Blue Moon happens about once every three years.

By the way, the “calendar” Blue Moon exists due to an error originally made by amateur astronomer James Pruett. He misunderstood the basis for calculating the seasonal Blue Moon and wrote that a Blue Moon was the second full moon in a month in an article published in Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring Grandma into this conversation. While many like to get planting this weekend, Grandma never put anything directly in the ground until after the full moon in June.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend; be safe and have fun!


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.


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