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August 31 Blue Moon

Moon and Venus, August 15, 2020

2020, August 15: The crescent moon appears 3.4° to the upper left of Venus this morning among the stars of western Gemini.



Full Moon (NASA Photo)


What is a Blue Moon? Several different explanations describe this infrequent occurrence.

August 31, 2012 is the second full moon of the month. This phenomenon is known as a “Blue Moon” in current discourse. This is a rather recent formulation of the term.

Sky & Telescope magazine has traced the history of the term in at least two articles and it has even been part of the change of how the term is used.

Here is a summary of what the articles describe:

With that written, I will put here that I will not write about this topic until the next Blue Moon and let the reader determine the usage.

2022, January 8:  Venus at Inferior Conjunction

January 8, 2022: Venus passes between Earth and the sun – inferior conjunction – today.  Mars continues its slow climb into the morning sky.  Three bright planets – Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury – are in the southwest after sunset

2022, January 6: Mercury Nears Greatest Elongation

January 6, 2022:  Planet Mercury nears its evening greatest elongation.  It appears in the evening sky, with a crescent moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Venus sets soon after sundown.  Mars is in the southeast before sunup.

2022, January 5:  Jupiter – Evening Moon, Morning Mars

January 5, 2022: Jupiter and the crescent are 5.5° in the evening sky.  Look for Mercury and Saturn with the planet-moon duo.  Earlier, Venus is low in the west-southwest.  Before sunrise, Mars is near Antares.

2022, January 4: Earth at Perihelion

January 4, 2022:  Earth is at perihelion today – it’s closest point to the sun.  Mars is a morning planet, while the evening planet pack – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – and the crescent moon are in the southwest after sundown.

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