‘Once in a blue moon’ is not just a phrase we use for those occasional treats or chores.

 

It is also a rare statistical quirk which occurs when a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month.

And the  last night of August  was the night when for the first time in two years we were treated to our second full moon in August, thanks to the moon last reaching its peak on August 2.

The reason why we call it a ‘blue moon’ is lost to history, although the Farmers’ Almanac would always note an occurrence during the 18th century.

Recent decades have seen widespread popular embrace of the idea that when a calendar month contains two full Moons, the second one is called a “Blue Moon.” The unusual pattern of lunar phases in early 1999 — two full Moons each in January and March, and none at all in February — triggered a groundswell of public interest. Countless newspapers and radio and TV stations ran stories about Blue Moons

In an article entitled Once in a Blue Moon, folklorist Philip Hiscock traced the calendrical meaning of the term “Blue Moon” to the Maine Farmers’ Almanac for 1937. But a page from that almanac belies the second-full-Moon-in-a-month interpretation

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/3304131.html

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/blue-moon-had-many-looking-to-the-skies-taking-photos.html

 

A rising full Moon lights the scene in The Fishing Party, painted by Fitz Hugh Lane after a visit to the coast of Maine in August 1850. That month contained a Fruit Moon, according to the Maine almanac’s rules.
Blue Moon (and I think Ella Fitzgerald)
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue Moon
You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked to the Moon it turned to gold

Blue Moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked the Moon had turned to gold

Blue moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

Blue moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own