Once in a blue moon ...
For once, actually, I remembered to look for the moon at a time when it was shining in full view rather than illuminating some patch of water while we drowned under yet another shower. So here is my view of tonight's blue moon (ie the second to occur in this calendar month), super moon (because it's kinda close again), thanks to my pal who posted her own photo and reminded me. I once saw an actual blue sun - I clearly remember walking with my mother, and my baby sister in the pram, in the afternoon and seeing the blue sun above Hyndland Road. The Guardian (then the Manchester Guardian) had this report:
Gerard Fay of the Manchester Guardian gives you the details from London:
At about five in the evening reports began to pour in from Scotland and the north of England that the setting sun was shining bright blue, then a little later at moonrise, it was seen that moon was shining blue too. A bright citizen who never took a drink in their lives rubbed their eyes and asked neighbours if they were really seeing things. But they were, and the songwriter’s dream had come true and there really was a blue moon. In fact the songwriters couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect, except perhaps that it could have happened in June, just for the sake of the rhyme.
But of course it wasn’t really a matter for tin pan alley. The astronomer royal soon came into the story. He ordered an aeroplane and had it sent up to a height of 42,000ft, so that a scientific report on the phenomenon might be furnished.
But before the astronomers had pulled themselves together to give a reasonable account of the blue moon, rumour had been at work and good people all over the north were asking whether this was not some form of retribution descending over the universe for our atomic meddlings, or worse, the first sign that the earth was about to do something eccentric like freezing solid or blowing up.
In the end there were three favoured theories. That dust or ice particles were interfering with the red end of the spectrum and allowing only the blue light to come through. That the sun and moon were being sighted through a haze layer at about 30,000ft. And finally, that the blue moon was caused by smoke, blown over by the great forest fires in British Colombia.
I was too small to stay up for the moon, but tonight the metaphorical blue moon is lighting up the snowy ground and the hills behind Dunoon so that, at midnight, I'm almost tempted to go out for a walk.