By Shiryn Ghermezian, EnStarz | Aug 30, 2012 09:56 AM EDT
The next chance to see a blue moon is this Friday, Aug. 31, and if you miss it, you'll have to wait till 2015.
However, "blue moon" is not in fact blue-colored at all. The term refers to its rarity; blue moons are either the fourth full moon in a season or the second full moon in a month, according to the Huffington Post. The latter is this year's August blue moon.
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Most years have twelve full moons that occur approximately once a month, but some have the extra, making it 13 instead of 12.
The rarity of the moon also coincides with the common saying of something occurring "once in a blue moon." The moon will be at its fullest on Friday at 9:58 a.m. EDT, with the next one occurring on July 31, 2015.
Photographer Sid Vedula captured a shot of the first full moon for the month, on Aug. 1, from Houston, TX. For two full moons to happen in the same month, the first one must occur in the beginning of the month because the approximate distance between two full moons is 29.5 days.
The blue hue that many viewers might see is caused by smoke or dust particles in the atmosphere, causing the eye to see the color though the moon itself is not blue. According to reports, a volcanic eruption in 1883 caused the moon to appear blue for nearly two years.
Friday is also the day where a private memorial service will be held for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon who died last Saturday in Ohio at the age of 82.
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