A full moon is seen from the Atahualpa Stadium in Quito (Photo : Reuters)
At dusk on Friday, if you look to the sky, you will see the last "blue moon" to occur for the next three years.
A blue moon is the second full moon of a single month, which appears as a result of the difference between the length of calendar months and the time it takes for the moon to orbit Earth. A full orbit only takes 29.5 days, meaning that our 30 to 31 day months occasionally cram in two full moons.
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If weather conditions prevent a clear view of the night sky, tune into the Slooh space camera site at 6:00 p.m. EDT to catch a live feed of the event. Astronomer Bob Berman and documentary filmmaker Duncan Copp will narrate as footage taken from both the Canary Islands Observatory and the Prescott Observatory in Arizona are streamed onto the site, which is also viewable by iOS and Android users for those on the move. The observatories will provide a simultaneous feed of both the sun and the moon.
The special broadcast will also dedicate a portion of its time honoring Neil Armstrong. Berman states that "This Blue Moon that Slooh will explore Friday night is somewhat rare, but not as rare as the courage and talent of the late Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the nearest celestial neighbor."
"To honor him, Slooh will explore the Sea of Tranquility with its Canary Island 20-inch telescope, live, and have guests who will reveal some of the lesser-known secrets of that historic 1969 event. I think many of our visitors will be in for quite a surprise," he added.
According to Universe Today, Astronomer and Publicist for Australasian Science magazine David Reneke said, "Blue Moons don't have any real significance scientifically but they're fun to look at. Anytime you can get people out to look at the real sky to me is a great plus, enjoy it while you can this Friday night and while you're looking moonward, think of Neil Armstrong, OK?"
Space has always been tied to romantic notions, as we continue to associate the unknown the idea of unlimited possiblity. Harvard University Astronomer Avi Loeb once said that the moon is far more important to lovers, literature, and folkore than to science. The celebration of Armstrong's achievements are not fueled by his scientifc achievements, but rather speak to how his courage inspired the lives of millions.
The next time stargazers will be able to see a blue moon is July 2015.