Once in a Blue Moon

You can see the rare blue moon this August 21-23

This weekend is your next chance to catch the rare full blue moon before it again becomes just a memory until 2024.

A blue moon is the third full moon in a season containing four full moons, rather than the usual three.

People in the Americas will be able to see a nearly full moon Saturday night, before the true blue moon reaches its highest point in the sky early Sunday morning at 1:04 a.m Eastern time. The moon will reach peak illumination at 8:02 a.m Eastern time Sunday and appear close to full after dusk that day.

The full blue moon, which happens about once every 2.7 years on average, won’t actually appear blue, though , that only happens even more rarely, when volcanic eruptions or forest fires send lots of smoke and fine dust into the atmosphere.

Upcoming sky schedule

Throughout the remainder of 2021, you might be able to catch these space and sky events depending on your location.

The full moons and their names:

• September 20: Harvest moon

• October 20: Hunter’s moon

• November 19: Beaver moon

• December 18: Cold moon

Meteor showers 2021 guide:

• October 8: Draconids

• October 21: Orionids

• November 4-5: South Taurids

• November 11-12: North Taurids

• November 17: Leonids

• December 13-14: Geminids

• December 22: Ursids

Solar and lunar eclipses:

• November 19: A partial eclipse of the moon, which people in North America and Hawaii will see between 1 a.m. Eastern time and 7:06 a.m. Eastern time.

• December 4: A total eclipse visible for those in the Falkland Islands, the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica and southeastern Australia.

When planets will be visible

Skywatchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets during certain mornings and evenings throughout the rest of 2021.

Seeing most of these, except Neptune, with the naked eye is possible, but binoculars or a telescope will provide the best view.

Mercury will appear as a bright star in the morning sky from October 18 to November 1. It will shine in the night sky from August 31 to September 21, and November 29 to December 31.

Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk in the evenings through December 31. It’s the second-brightest object in our sky, after the moon.

Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between November 24 and December 31, and it will be visible in the evening sky through August 22.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is the third-brightest object in our sky. Look for it in the evenings of August 20 to December 31, but it will be at its brightest until September 2.

Saturn’s rings are only visible through a telescope, but the planet itself can still be seen with the naked eye in the evenings until December 31.

Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot the greenish glow of Uranus in the mornings through November 3 and in the evenings from November 4 to December 31. It will be at its brightest between August 28 and December 31.

And our most distant neighbor in the solar system, Neptune, will be visible through a telescope in the mornings through September 13 and during the evenings September 14 to December 31. It will be at its brightest until November 8.

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