Weather Eye: Full blue moon's appearance an enchanting sight

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 
photoPatrick Timm

If you like afternoon high temperatures more in the comfortable 70s you will be happy Friday and into much of next week. Our flow of air was offshore Wednesday, helping us log another 90-degree day. The weather pattern begins to shift today, allowing air off the ocean to filter inland. By the weekend we will most likely have morning clouds.

Still no big rain producers in the offing, perhaps some drizzle at the coast and spotty areas inland. However, summer still reigns!

Did you get a chance to see the full blue moon Tuesday night? Weather wise it was perfectly clear. Speaking of clear, let's set the record straight about the blue moon. Usually the only full moon in August is called the full sturgeon moon. The long-standing definition was that when a month had two full moons, the second was called a "blue moon." This has been handed down for decades.

The first definition of a blue moon was the third moon in a season with four full moons, as we have this summer. This was mentioned in the "Maine Farmer's Almanac" (now defunct) in 1937. In a 1946 edition of Sky and Telescope magazine, a writer interpreted the 1937 almanac incorrectly and made an error in calculations. They wrote that in a month with two moons, the second is called the full blue moon.

Confused yet? I am. I went on the assumption of the latter and have mentioned in this column over the years a blue moon as the second one in a month. The bottom line is it's not easy to undo an old saying. Regardless, the "once in a blue moon" phrase will continue to mean a rarity. So take your choice. The fourth full moon of this summer is Sept. 19. The next month with two full moons and the resulting blue moon is July 2015. If you want to know more, first take some headache medication and then search on the Internet.

For me, I hope it is once in a blue moon that I will have to write about this again!

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://patricktimm.com.