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Blue Moon - redux

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Matti Lamprhey

Sep 16, 2003, 9:01:21 AM9/16/03
An item heard on the radio the other day about the origin and meanings
of "blue moon" prompted me to check the AUE FAQ (Hi, Bob!) entry for the
phrase. I think it's in need of an update.

The entry was written by Philip Hiscock, a folklorist who researched the
phrase extensively and published an article in the US magazine _Sky &
Telescope_ in early 1999; the AUE entry is clearly based on that
article, and ends by describing the meaning popularized by Trivial
Pursuit -- a second full moon in a calendar month. Hiscock had traced
this back to _The Maine Farmers' Almanac_, reporting a rumour that this
organ made a practice of drawing the symbols for such moons in blue
rather than the usual red ink.

However, _Sky & Telescope_ published a follow-up article shortly
afterwards which provides full information on that almanac's
interpretation of "blue moon", one which was more satisfactory than the
one Hiscock traced from Trivial Pursuit. The article describes exactly
how the mistake came about. It's definitely worth a read, and can be
found at:

During the period 1932-1957 the almanac used "blue moon" to label the
third full moon in a season which contained four full moons. An
important but apparently unanswered question is whether this was a fancy
of its then editor, Professor Henry Porter Trefethen (1887-1957), or
whether such labelling has an earlier and wider history.

I suggest the AUE FAQ entry be updated.


Dr. Jai Maharaj

Sep 16, 2003, 3:38:01 PM9/16/03
In article <bk71l9$p56al$>,
"Matti Lamprhey" <> posted:

I posted the following last year:

[ From: Dr. Jai Maharaj
[ Date: 2002-10-07

Adhik Mas and the Blue Moon

By Jagdish C. Maheshri

Calendar ''date'' that we are so familiar with in our
daily life is based on solar calendar. English calendar
is a solar calendar. The basis for solar calendar is the
rotation of the Earth around the Sun. It takes earth
approximately 365 1/4 days to complete its rotation
around the Sun. The English calendar that most of us use
today divides the 365 days of earth's period of rotation
around the Sun in twelve months. The leap year, which
occurs once every four years, accounts for 1/4 day per

Similar to solar calendar lunar calendar is also popular
and widely used in the Asian countries such as China,
Pacific-rim countries, Middle East countries, and India.
Lunar calendar, which is believed to have originated in
India, has been around for a very long time, even long
before the solar calendar.

The lunar calendar is based on the moon's rotation around
the Earth. The lunar month corresponds to one complete
rotation of Moon around the Earth. Since this period of
rotation of moon around the earth varies, the duration of
lunar month also varies. On average, the lunar month has
about 29 1/2 days. In addition to moon's rotation around
the earth, the lunar year is based on earth's rotation
around the Sun. In general, the lunar year has twelve
lunar months of approximately 354 days, thus making it
shorter by about 11 days than the solar year. However,
the lunar calendar accounts for this difference by adding
an extra lunar month about once every 21/2 years. This
extra lunar month is known as the ''Adhik Mas'' in India
(Adhik means extra and the Mas means month). The concept
of placing of the extra month, meaning why and when
should it be inserted between certain lunar months is as

According to sidereal zodiac system[1] Sun enters the
first zodiac sign Aries (Mesh) on about April 15 of every
year. And about 15th of every month Sun enters the next
sidereal zodiac sign. For example, as we know, every year
on MakarSankranti the Sun enters the sidereal zodiac sign
Capricorn on about January 14. While Sun remains in a
zodiac sign for approximately one month, the Moon travels
through all twelve zodiac signs in about 27 1/2 days. As
a result, on average, once about every two and half
years, the entry of the Moon in the same zodiac sign
occurs twice while the Sun remains in the same sign. In
other words, when the Sun is traveling through the same
zodiac sign, the month during which two new moons occur,
happens once about every 2 1/2 years. The lunar month
corresponding to the period between these two new moons
is treated as the extra month or the Adhik Mas. Thus, if
the Adhik Mas occurs at the beginning of the lunar month
Chaitra[2], then it's called as Adhik Chaitra, and the
following lunar month would be then the regular or Neej
lunar month Chaitra.

The concept of the Adhik mas (the extra month) is similar
to the ''Blue Moon'' in the West, which occurs almost
with the same frequency of 2 1/2 years. Blue moon is the
second full moon when two full moons occur in the same
month. Naturally the blue moon must occur towards the
end of month (some where between 29th,30th,or 31st of the

Recall that the entry of Sun in a sidereal zodiac sign
occurs around the middle of the calendar (solar) month
(near 15th of the month), thus, sun stays in a sidereal
zodiac sign from about 15th of a month to about 15th of
the next month. Since for Adhik Mas to occur, two new
moons must occur during when sun remains in the same
zodiac sign. Consequently, those new moons must occur
near 15th of the successive months. As a result, around
the time of Adhik Mas, the successive full moons are very
likely to occur near the beginning and the end of the
same month. Indeed, the occurrence of the blue moon
usually precedes the Adhik Mas.

Jagdish C. Maheshri October 5, 2000

[1] This system of zodiac is popular in India

[2] The Indian lunar year begins on the new moon day,
which usually occurs near the beginning of the Spring
season. The twelve lunar months are: Chaitra, Waishakh,
Jeshta, Ashadh, Shrawan (Sawan), Bhadrapad (Bhado),
Ashwin, Kartik, Margshirsh, Paush, Magha, Falgoon (Fagan)

Courtesy Astroinsight

Jai Maharaj
Jyotishi, Vedic Astrologer
Creator of newsgroups alt.jyotish and alt.religion.hindu
Om Shanti

Panchaang for 1 Ashvin 5103, Monday, October 7, 2002:

Chitrabhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Jeevana Ritau
Kanya Mase Shukla Pakshe Indu Vasara Yuktayam
Svati Nakshatra Vaidhriti-Vishakumbha Yoga
Balava-Taitila Karana Dvitiya-Tritiya Yam Tithau

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Sep 19, 2003, 11:35:23 PM9/19/03
In article <>,
The casteless Jay Stevens calling itself Dr. Jai Maharaj
<> wrote:

>Adhik Mas and the Blue Moon

Are you balls blue, Fucknozzel?

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