Supermoon Blue Moon Lunatics

 blue moon

We’ve all heard the saying “once is a blue moon.” The blue moon has arrived. Well, there’s a supermoon, which could also be a blue moon, which reputedly causes lunacy.

This weekend the moon will invade our space more than usual.  Although it will only be 14 percent larger, it has been dubbed the “supermoon.” The ideal time to see it is when it fills up at 8:30 a.m. this weekend. (Santa Fe New Mexican News). 

So, how high the moon?  The average distance from the Earth to the moon is 380,000 km (235,000 miles).   It will sidle up to the Earth about 221,000 miles away.  If the Earth and the moon were chatting on the street, the moon would be almost 13 inches closer than usual. That could be discomfiting fort the Earth, especially if the two didn’t get along

What’s the comparative size of the Earth to the moon?  The Earth is 12,740 km (7900 miles) across, and the Moon 3474 km (2150 miles) in diameter.  That makes a ratio of 3.7. The relationship of a basketball (24 cm or 9.4 inches) to a tennis ball (6.7 cm (2.6 inches) works out to a ratio of 3.6. (“Bad Astronomy,” Discover at

For us to get a full moon, the moon’s orbit has to pass directly through the Earth’s shadow. Usually the moon passes above or below the Earth’s shadow. A full moon doesn’t really last all night, because the Moon as seen from Earth is continuously becoming larger or smaller (too minutely to be seen by the naked eye.  (Wikipedia.)

About once a year the moon is in its fullest phase and closest to the Earth.  Then it becomes a supermoon. Still, it won’t mess with the Earth’s orbit.  But it does make higher tides, but not much higher.

The moon and the Earth get cozier because the sun’s gravity pulls them together. That’s why the moon varies in its orbit.  (

So what’s the relationship between supermoons, blue moons and lunacy?

“Lunatic” is derived from the Latin, lunaticus, designating the belief that lunacy fluctuated with the phases of the moon.  In between are lucid intervals.  As Edger Allan Poe remarked, “I became insane, with long intervals of terrible sanity.”

Studies have shown that that a full moon, including a supermoon, does not influence human behaviors, or induce extra psychiatric disorders or homicide. Cops supposedly assert that there is more craziness under a full moon.  That is most likely a Hollywood myth.  Still, people do say it “must be a full moon” when odd things happen.

Of course we know a full moon brings about metamorphoses, like lycanthropy and transmigration of souls, and also ups the number of mediumistic trances.  And it hits your eye like a big pizza pie, rendering you amorous.

You would think that a “blue moon” is a very rare occurrence.  Actually it refers to a second full moon in a single month, which happens about every two to three years.

According to folklore, there were 12 full moons in a year.  A 13th full moon was “blue.” This notion was given unfortunate credence in an article in the March 1946 issue of Sky & Telescope, entitled “Once in a Blue Moon,” in which James Hugh Pruett relied on his faulty memory to associate the myth with the data from the 1937 Maine Farmers’ Almanac. He informed the readers that in seven out of 19 months there were 13 full moons.  The semimonthly was called “Blue Moon.”

The moon, of course, doesn’t turn blue.  It may acquire a bluish tint because of certain atmospheric conditions brought about by such terrestrial events such as volcanic eruptions and wildfires.

The earliest known use of the term “blue moon” was in a poem by William Roy and Jerome Barlow in 1528,  entitled Rede me and be nott wrothe, for I say no thynge but trothe. The couplet reads, O churche men are wyly foxes […] Yf they say the mone is blewe / We must beleve that it is true.  It refers to the fact that priests required laymen to believe in statements that were absurd or manifestly false. (Wikipedia.)

The schedule for blue moons is 2010, 2013 (August 1st), 2016, 2019 and 2021.

As we know from the song sung by the Marcels in 1961, a blue moon is notoriously fickle, watching the lover “standing alone / Without a dream in my heart / Without a love of my own,” until the lover beheld his true love, whereupon the moon turned to gold (bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang bba ding a dong ding / Blue moon)

A supermoon or blue moon might not affect you, but a golden moon would surely drive you insane.

By:  Tom Ukinski


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