If you had clear skies this past week, you were treated to the stunning sight of a rare blue moon. But there’s more to this rare occurrence than meets the eye?or camera. These aspects of moon lore might have confused some, but they’re certainly entertaining:
Popular understanding is that a blue moon is a full moon that occurs twice in the same month. But with the full moon falling on August 20 this month, how could it fit that category? The problem is that our popular blue moon rule is actually based on an astronomical misunderstanding. Discovery magazine explains how it all came about.
Maybe the skeptics who don’t believe the 1969 moon landing actually happened aren’t completely off their rockers; moon hoaxes have occurred before. The Great Moon Hoax of August 1835 was set off when a new newspaper, in an effort to make a satirical statement and boost readership, ?reported? on studies from a fictional science journal that was supposedly claiming to have discovered life forms on the moon. The fantastical tales, which included unicorns and other mythical beasts, fooled thousands?including a delegation of scientists from Yale.
We can’t all fly to the moon to check out the geology first-hand, but some call Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Park a good second choice. This National Geographic interview explains the origin of the park’s name, and how rangers have helped NASA over the years.