What Is a Blue Moon? How and When to Catch It on March 31

January was chock full of lunar lunacy and March isn’t going to disappoint either. On March 31, stargazers will be able to break out their telescopes and catch an absolutely stunning few of the blue moon, if the weather permits.

Don’t let that name fool you, though. The moon won’t be shining a bright hue of blue, it’ll just be a full moon. The term “blue moon” is a weird naming convention for the second full moon of the month; it doesn’t have anything to do with the moon’s color.

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That doesn’t mean that this lunar phase won’t be special. Both January and March will experience two full moons. There haven’t been two blue moons in a calendar year since 1999. The next time this will happen is in 2037, making this actually quite a rare occurrence.

West Byfleet, Surrey

Flickr / gailhampshire

Luckily, space enthusiasts won’t have to do anything extra to catch this celestial event on the night of March 31. The lunar phase beings at 8:37 a.m. Eastern, but don’t worry — if you’re living in the United States, you’ll still be able to see the full moon at night, as long as clouds aren’t an issue.

When people are looking up at the sky that night, they’ll be seeing the moon while it’s on the opposite side of the Earth and the sun. Light from the sun hits the lunar surface and is reflected back to us Earthlings. That’s what gives the moon its familiar white glow.

In the grand scheme of things, this month’s blue moon won’t be as eye-popping as January’s “Super Blue Blood Moon”. Still wholesome and good, though.

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