A Rarity In The Sky!

A Rarity In The Sky!

“It will happen once in a blue moon but hey, did the moon really turn blue?” – I wondered!

 You must have heard the phrase, probably tossed it around a few times and definitely have sung along to it: once in a blue moon. But what exactly happens “once in a blue moon?” What’s so mysterious about it?  Unsurprisingly science and superstition have turned the moon “bloody blue”.  There are number of myth, traditional stories, legends and superstition which have evolved with time and prevail through centuries. Rumor had it that it will happen on 31st January of this year. A rare chance in 150 years when we will be able to witness what they called “super bloody blue moon”.  Unfortunately for stargazers like me, who eagerly waited for this day, the moon actually did not turn blue. As a matter of fact, the blue moon, aren’t even blue. They glow just the same as on any other ordinary day.

“Blue Moon” is a term used by astronomers when two full moons appear in the same month. It is worth noting that the moon rarely turns blue during a blue moon. According to NASA “Most Blue Moons look pale grey and white, indistinguishable from any other Moon you’ve ever seen.” and a blood moon meanwhile, is simply the result of a total lunar eclipse, which puts the moon entirely in Earth’s umbra — the darkest part of its shadow. Although no sunlight can directly reach the moon during a total eclipse, light still passes around the edges of the Earth’s atmosphere and is subject to what Hyper Physics explains is Rayleigh scattering; since blue light scatters more than red light, the moon takes on a reddish cast.

We are all familiar with the superstitions that come with a full moon. People go crazy, animals freak out, there are higher crime rates, werewolf comes out, sprites roam around, and what not!! It turns out that there’s a slew of specific superstitions for the blue moon and the lunar eclipse from around the world. The most interesting one being that – “The girls will turn pregnant even if they stare at the blue moon”. Can you believe it we are in 21st century and there is still such superstition which are practiced in various culture around the world?

Well, since it was really “once in a blue moon” that I got a chance to see such mesmerizing beauty of moon, I made sure not only to stare at it but to capture it through my camera lenses. I venture out at night in the world lit crimson by the “super bloody bleeding blue moon”, which according to some signal apocalyptic event for poor humans on earth but for me it was nothing but science wrapped up in human superstition and I enjoyed witnessing it.

Antra Tripathi

[B.Tech 2015-19]

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