Science media on the super blue moon from last month

The moon in an orange hue
A blue moon in Vancouver, Washington on 31st March 2018. Sadly, not blue. Credit: Jeff Hollett

ICYMI: there was a “super blue moon” in August 2023. But what is a super blue moon? Well, you’re really asking five questions there…

What is a blue moon?

A blue moon is when you have two full moons in the same month OR when you have four in the same season (and the third one is denoted as the blue moon). Blue moons aren’t named as such because of their colour (sadly!) and it’s unclear why that choice of colour was used although some claim the moon might have appeared in that hue in the past.

How rare are blue moons?

You may recognise that term as a part of an English language phrase “once in a blue moon” to describe something happening rarely. While blue moons sadly aren’t blue in colour, they are still a rare occurrence usually happening only once every 2–3 years (according to Royal Museums Greenwich).

What is a super moon?

Now, a super blue moon is when the Moon is at its closest point to the Earth at the same time as a full Moon.

So… what is a super blue moon?

A super blue moon is when you get two blue moons in the same month OR you get four in the same season and the third of those four moons happens to be orbiting at its closest point to the earth. Phew!

How rare are super blue moons?

Sad news is if you missed this one, you won’t see another one until 2037, which is the same year that we’ll see two blue moons. Oh cosmos, you are spoiling us!

Now that you’ve got all that information, here’s what the media said about this rare celestial event:

And here is some more background info about blue moons and super moons:

In a way, I’m glad I missed it as I have recurring nightmares about the Moon being close to the Earth but it is objectively amazing.

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