We’re in for a real trifecta of a treat – the kind that only comes along once every 19 years. There will be a Blue Moon rising to help ring in the New Year. Party goers in Africa, Asia and Europe will be treated to this event with a partial lunar eclipse, but it will remain unseen for those in North and South America. (Click HERE for an animated preview)
The last New Year’s Eve Blue Moon occurred in 1990.
How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Years Eve? According to SpaceWeather.com, “A search of NASA’s Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year’s Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years).”
A Blue Moon is the name given to the second new moon to occur during the same month. The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning gives us a full moon every 29.5 days. Lunar cycles differ from solar cycles in that the solar calendar contains an extra 11 days (roughly). These “extra” days accumulate so that every 2.7154 years, there is an extra full moon.
Ancient myths and folklore have entire chapters, entire books for that matter, dedicated to the effect of a full moon on human behavior. The term lunacy and lunatic are derived from Luna, the Roman moon goddess. The full moon has been linked to crime, suicide, mental illness, disasters, accidents, birthrates, fertility, and even werewolves. However studies have found no direct connection, rendering it no more than an urban myth.
It seems to me that there is an exceptional amount of poetic symmetry for this rare event to occur on the eve of a new year, while acting as the usherer of a new decade. It gives me a little hope that 2010 will be a better year for all of Kingston’s citizens.
Perhaps this rare 19 year event is the year for that New Year’s resolution to stick? That’s probably an urban legend too. (Just in case though, try to think of a good one.)
From all of us to all of you, best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe Blue Moon New Year! Let the revelry and howling commence.
- Wilbur Girl