Hyderabad: It’s finally here and it has social media abuzz. The much talked about ‘blue moon’ that many netizens appear to be looking forward to on Saturday, however, will have the moon, appear in its usual livery of pearly gray.
According to N. Raghunandan, director, Planetary Society of India, there is no credence to the claim that the moon would appear blue in colour or larger than it usually does.
He did not rule out the sighting of a blue-coloured moon. Scientifically speaking, the moon does appear blue in colour when there is particulate matter or pollutant of the right size suspended in the air. This, when comes in contact with the light, it refracts and appears blue, he said.
That may or may not happen on Saturday.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there have been instances in the past when people in several parts of the world did see the moon turn blue. But each time, it was associated with a volcanic explosion that threw up dust miles high into the sky and these ash particles from the volcanoes which reflect red light, allowed the blue light from the spectrum reach the earth resulting in visibility of a blue coloured moon.
Such events, NASA says, occurred in 1883 (Krakatoa eruption in Indonesia), 1983 (El Chichon eruption in Mexico) while there were reports of people seeing the moon in this colour following eruptions of Mt St Helens (USA) in 1980 and Mt Pinatubo (Phillipines) in 1991.
According to N. Raghunandan, the term ‘blue moon’ became popular due to Western folklore from where the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ came into existence. This is to describe the rarity of this occurrence of second full moon within a month, like on October 31.
All it is, according to him, is a rare opportunity to watch a full moon twice in a calendar month.
Social media is abuzz with misinformation of the moon, and its colour on Saturday along with a trending #bluemoon and messages being circulated on reading of Tarots and how the ‘blue moon’ would affect future.
“There are no special poojas or anything that would be conducted for the ‘blue moon’. For us it is just another Pournami (full moon). There are beliefs about this moon in Western culture,” said Dr C.S. Rangarajan, head priest, Chilkur Balaji temple.