astronomy Newsletter


August 28 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Once in a Blue Moon
Once in a blue moon is a common English expression and it refers to a rare event. But why a blue Moon? And what is a blue Moon if it isn't blue? There is no unique answer, but here are a few things it could be.

There was a “blue Moon” about a week ago, August 20/21. It was the third full Moon in summer and there will be a fourth a few days before the autumn equinox. In England this is the Moon that was traditionally called the Fruit Moon.

*Solar Max expected soon*

Solar physicists seem to think that solar max is coming soon. Scandanavia and northern Russia are the best European sites to see aurorae, but it’s too light to see aurorae or stars for up to six weeks either side of the summer solstice. But by now the summer Sun has begun to set again and aurora season should take off there next month. In North America people have seeing some lovely aurorae this summer in places not far enough north for the “midnight Sun”. Here is a picture which has also caught the International Space Station passing overhead:

*Water in the Moon’s interior*

Last month I wrote about the change in our ideas about water on the Moon – from “dry as a bone” to considerable evidence of surface water. NASA has now found evidence of water in grains that formed deep below the surface, suggesting water in the interior.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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