The blue moon over New Mexico. (Photo : UFOsAlienLife/Twitter)
Friday brought a rare astronomical event to the skies when people around the globe could witness a "blue moon."
The best time to view it was at around 10:13 EDT, when the full moon was rising.People from all over flocked to Twitter and Facebook to post pictures of these rare phenomena.
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In an interview with the Wall Street Journal blog Metropolis, famous astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson played down the importance of Friday's blue moon.
"A blue moon is just like any other moon. You know it's not going to actually look blue, right?"
What a blue moon actually refers to is the occurrence of two full moons in the same month. The last one happened on December 31, 2009, and the next one is scheduled to happen almost three years from now, on July 31, 2015.
"A blue moon is just a second full moon. The average time the moon takes to complete a cycle of phases is 29.5 days. Every month except February can have a second full moon," Tyson explained.
"Chances of a full moon on the first of the month, like we had this month, is about 1 in 30. So blue moons happens about once every 30 months. About 2 1/2 to 3 years. Not really that rare, my friend."
The next full moon, the famous harvest moon, will take place on September 30.
If you're interested in learning about the origin of the phrase "blue moon," read Philip Hiscock's definitive Sky & Telescope piece, "Once In A Blue Moon."
How will Moon Look Like on September 1st?
People may also be asking themselves what the September 1st skies will look like.
"What will the moon look like on Saturday night?" or "will the moon be almost a full moon?" are questions people may be asking themselves.
As a matter of fact, the moon on Saturday night will maintain its round shape and will resemble a full moon but its roundness will be barely carved on one side.
At first glance, people may not even notice that the moon on Saturday night is not a full moon but if they look closely and carefully they'll be able to tell that it is not a full moon.
Image of Moon on September 1, 2012
Images of what the September 1st moon will look like can be found here.
Watch the blue moon on August 31, 2012: