The next blue moon will supposedly occur tonight, August 31, 2012.
There are a lot of myths and folklore about the blue moon, but a blue moon is actually defined two ways: 1) Two full moons occurring within one month. 2) Or it can also be the third full moon in a season that has a total of four full moons instead of three.
This is a rare occurance in any event. The moon doesn't really turn blue during the blue moon phase, but in theory it could. It will only appear blue if the atmospheric conditions are just right, such as smoke or dust particles or something else in the atmosphere that produces a haze that would possibly change the way humans would see the color of the moon from earth.
Some volcanoes in the past made the moon appear to be blue and in 1950 and 1951, some major forest fires in Sweden and Canada also caused it to appear to be blue.
The blue moon that will be visible tonight is going to be a calendar blue moon, or the second full moon in the calendar month.
Blue Moons occur only about seven times in 19 years—or approx. once every two-and-a-half years. The blue moon phenomena is sort of like the leap year, happening as a calendar catch-up. It takes the moon about 27-1/2 days to go round the earth. Since this is less than the number of days in a calendar month, occasionally causing the two moons to occur in one month.
I doubt I will get to see a blue moon tonight as it has been raining a lot this afternoon, so we are unlikely to have dust or haze. I suppose anything could happen though.
Though it isn't a blue moon, this journal quilt done in 2006 had that eerie feeling of a blue moon. At least that is always how I have perceived blue moons. You can click on it to make the image larger. This was a challenge done in my Cut-Loose Quilters group, which has since disbanded more or less. The challenge was to take a book, go to a certain page and line, and then make a journal quilt based on that line. I cannot remember the name of the book right now nor do I remember the name of the artist, but it was a very fun challenge.
I am not a beer drinker, but I saw this beer at the grocery store that would be very appropriate for watching the blue moon phenomena tonight. I doubt the autumn special brew is available yet, though it is feeling as though we are jumping into the fall quickly with the heavy rainy weather that caused my Verizon to give a flash flood warning. This would definitely warm the soul!