courtesy of http://spaceweather.com/
BLUE MOON ON NEW YEAR'S EVE: Believe it or not, tonight's full Moon is a "Blue Moon." It's the second full Moon this month and the first Blue Moon to fall on New Year's Eve in nearly 20 years. Sounds like a rare excuse for a party... There's more. In Europe, Africa and Asia, the Blue Moon will dip into Earth's shadow for a partial lunar eclipse. At maximum eclipse, around 19:24 Universal Time, approximately 8% of the Moon will be darkly shadowed: animated preview.
Blue Moons are rare (once every 2.5 years). Blue Moons on New Year's Eve are rarer still (once every 19 years). How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve?
A search of NASA's Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years). A year of special note is 2848 when there will be two lunar eclipses in December--on Dec. 1st and Dec. 31st. Such a double-Blue Moon-lunar eclipse ending on New Year's Eve appears to be a millennium-level event. That's rare.
Go outside and enjoy the moonlight!
And what a beautiful Blue Moon it was! Fortunately we got to see it rise, just before it was overwhelmed by dark, dark storm clouds!
(please excuse crap photo taken with mobile phone.)
After a day of sweltering high 30s, the storm came in about 9pm. You can see it overhead in the photo. Then we had delicious torrential rain till 1am! Mmmm, rain! :~)
So here's to a good 2010! May it be as magical as the once-in-a-millennium-Blue-Moon-with-Luna
(missed seeing the eclipse part myself thanks to storm. Doh!)