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The huge blue moon appears in the sky of Qatar tonight

The Blue Moon will occur on Aug. 30, 2023, at 9:35 p.m. ET (0135 GMT on Aug 31.)

August's "Super Blue Moon" will be the biggest and brightest full moon of the year.

There are two types of Blue Moons but unfortunately, neither has anything to do with color. 

A seasonal Blue Moon is the traditional definition of a Blue Moon and refers to the third full moon in a season that has four full moons according to NASA.

Whilst the second definition — borne out of a misunderstanding of the first — is a monthly Blue Moon which refers to the second full moon within a single calendar month. The monthly Blue Moon is nowadays considered the second definition of a Blue Moon rather than a mistake, according to Time and Date.

As the cycle of the phases of the moon lasts approximately one month, we typically experience 12 full moons each year. Many cultures have given distinct names to each month's full moon. 12 months, 12 full moons, 12 names. Simple right?

Well, not quite. Here's where the Blue Moon comes into the equation. 

The moon phases actually take 29.5 days to complete which means it takes just 354 days to complete 12 lunar cycles. So every 2.5 years or so a 13th full moon is observed within a calendar year. 

This 13th full moon doesn't conform to the normal naming scheme and is referred to as the Blue Moon. 

Contrary to the popular phrase "once in a blue moon", Blue Moons can occur relatively frequently, that is, in astronomical terms. 

Blue Moons occur once every two to three years, according to NASA. As there are roughly 29.5 days between full moons, February will never experience a monthly Blue Moon as it only has 28 days in a common year and 29 in a leap year. Sometimes February doesn't have a Full Moon at all, this is known as a Black Moon, according to Time and Date.

The next monthly Blue Moon is on Aug. 30/31, 2023 according to Time and Date. The next seasonal Blue Moon will take place on Aug. 19/20, 2024.


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