The Blue Moons of 2018
“What’s a Blue Moon, Papa?” asked Laura.
“Now that’s a good question,” answered Papa.
“First, let me ask you where you heard those words?”
Laura replied, “Somebody on TV said that we’d start the New Year of 2018 by having our first full moon on January 1. Then later this month, on January 31, we’d see a Blue Moon.
I looked out tonight and saw a full moon.
But it doesn’t look anywhere near blue to me.”
Papa smiled and said, “The moon is not colored blue tonight nor will it be colored blue on January 31. We use the words Blue Moon as an expression to describe a very rare event.
When we look at the full moon tonight, we are seeing the first part of something that doesn’t happen too often.
The moon we see tonight is the first full moon we’ll see in the month of January.
On January 31 we’ll see a second full moon in the same month.
This second full moon on January 31 is called a Blue Moon.
“I think I understand, but why did you say this is a rare event?” asked Laura.
Papa answered, “There wasn’t a Blue Moon during the last two years.
The last time we saw a Blue Moon was on July 31, 2015.
The time before that was on August 31, 2012.”
”OK,” said Laura.
“I now understand that having two full moons in the same month is a pretty rare event.”
“Good,” responded Papa.
“However, I want to tell you that during this year of 2018 we will see a very, very rare event.”
“What is it?” questioned Laura.
“I’ve already mentioned that we’ll see a Blue Moon on January 31.
We’ll also see a Blue Moon on March 31 because there is another full moon earlier in March on the 1st. This happens only every nineteen years in which we have two Blue Moons in the same year.”
“I see what you mean when you said this would be a very, very rare event,” said Laura nodding her head.
“One further comment about the year 2018.
There will be no full moon during the month of February.
The last time this happened was again nineteen years ago in 1999.”
“Wow!” said Laura.
“So this won’t happen again until 2037?” she asked.
“That’s right,” said Papa with a grin.
“How old will you be then?” he asked.