new moons

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new moons

Charles Moyer
Anyone and everybody,

   A second full moon in one month = a blue moon. What does one call a
second new moon in the same month as will happen this month of Dec. 2005?

Charles
R11r+
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
RE:

> A second full moon in one month = a blue moon.
> What does one call a
> second new moon in the same month as will happen
> this month of Dec. 2005?

Lance replies:
(1) No. The list went over this topic several years
ago, and this simplistic definition of 'blue moon' was
traced to an error in 'Sky & Telescope'.

(2) A 'blue moon' is intended to be a rarity. Under
the original and correct definition, it is. The error
makes a blue moon much more common. Step one, it
seems, would be to investigate how often such an event
actually occurs.

(3) The origin of the term 'blue' has not ever been
resolved, to my knowledge, although the original
definition was recovered. Applying a color to a
visible object, for whatever reason, substantially
makes more sense than applying a color to an invisible
object. 'Red' is out of the question, since that color
is associated with eclipse appearance.

(4) At the moment, I believe, the situation is
somewhat analogous to the question of what to call a
resident of Connecticut. A resident of Texas is a
Texan, a resident of Michigan is a Michigander, and so
on. As it turns out, the correct term is 'a resident
of Connecticut'. One wonders about the collective
mental capacity of a group of people who are unable to
produce a name for themselves after 350 years. But I
digress. At the moment, the correct term for the
phenomenon that Charles describes is 'second new moon
in one calendar month', just as the correct term for a
second full moon is 'second full moon in one calendar
month'.

(5) It might be productive, or at least fun, to
produce names for these events. There are at least
four of them - new moon, first quarter, full moon,
last quarter. It might be useful to use colors, in
order to wean the public from the incorrect
definition. 'Black' or 'dark' is unavailable, of
course, since it would be confused with a simple new
moon. Historically, some group may have done this
already. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some
Native American group has associated colors with lunar
phases, for example, and that might be a starting
point.

Summarizing, 'black', 'blue' and 'red' are not
available. 'Yellow', 'silver', 'orange' and 'white'
are so commonly associated with the moon that they
fail to create a distinction in this case.

Remaining colors might then be 'green', 'purple', and
'brown'. 'Indigo' is legitimate, but I suspect 90% of
the population would not know what it meant, and the
other 10% would confuse it with purple.

Clearly, we'd like to steer away from names like
'heliotrope' and 'puce'. Ditto for computer palette
names like 'medium sea green' and 'peach puff 33'.

'Peach moon' does suggest a color, but it also
suggests a season, which is not the intended effect.
More on this later.

'The names could be fancied up - 'emerald' or 'jade'
rather than 'green', 'amethyst' rather than 'purple',
and so on. Gem names might be sufficiently divorced in
the original context to provide an inventory of useful
names.

Another possibility, suggested by 'peach', would be to
divide the occurrences by seasons. That notion
encounters multiple problems, of course. The usual
north-south hemis thing, for one. And just plain
regional questions. Bog people might hold out for
'cranberry' while Texans would insist on 'nopal'.

Other possibilities exist for a quadripartite
division. Fire, water, air and earth. Playing card
suits. Cardinal directions. Since so much of the
planet's population now lives in cities, perhaps
aspects of the urban experience should be used,
suggesting names like 'Backed-up Toilet Moon', 'Drug
Bust Moon' and so on. I'm sure we'll think of
something.

-Lance
 

Lance Latham
[hidden email]
Phone:    (518) 274-0570
Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
 





               
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Re: new moons

VictorEngel
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Lance and Calendar People,

> Lance replies:
> (1) No. The list went over this topic several years
> ago, and this simplistic definition of 'blue moon' was
> traced to an error in 'Sky & Telescope'.

As I recall, the term originated from an extra moon in a season, not in a
month. That does not mean that the term blue moon is not used to describe
the second full moon in a month. It is.
 
> (2) A 'blue moon' is intended to be a rarity. Under
> the original and correct definition, it is. The error
> makes a blue moon much more common. Step one, it
> seems, would be to investigate how often such an event
> actually occurs.

I wonder about the relative frequencies of the two definitions. I don't
recall their being so far apart. Using the original definition, the
frequency would be about 1 in 1/(x-12) years, where x is the mean number of
lunations in a year. With the new definition it would be about 7 in 19 years
(235 lunations in 228 months). This winds up being the same frequency,
doesn't it? It's just different lunations.
 
> (4) At the moment, I believe, the situation is
> somewhat analogous to the question of what to call a
> resident of Connecticut. A resident of Texas is a
> Texan,

And he would call a resident of Connecticut a Yankee.

> a resident of Michigan is a Michigander, and so
> on. As it turns out, the correct term is 'a resident
> of Connecticut'. One wonders about the collective
> mental capacity of a group of people who are unable to
> produce a name for themselves after 350 years. But I
> digress. At the moment, the correct term for the
> phenomenon that Charles describes is 'second new moon
> in one calendar month', just as the correct term for a
> second full moon is 'second full moon in one calendar
> month'.
>
> (5) It might be productive, or at least fun, to
> produce names for these events. There are at least
> four of them - new moon, first quarter, full moon,
> last quarter. It might be useful to use colors, in
> order to wean the public from the incorrect
> definition. 'Black' or 'dark' is unavailable, of
> course, since it would be confused with a simple new
> moon. Historically, some group may have done this
> already. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some
> Native American group has associated colors with lunar
> phases, for example, and that might be a starting
> point.
>
> Summarizing, 'black', 'blue' and 'red' are not
> available. 'Yellow', 'silver', 'orange' and 'white'
> are so commonly associated with the moon that they
> fail to create a distinction in this case.
>
> Remaining colors might then be 'green', 'purple', and
> 'brown'. 'Indigo' is legitimate, but I suspect 90% of
> the population would not know what it meant, and the
> other 10% would confuse it with purple.
>
> Clearly, we'd like to steer away from names like
> 'heliotrope' and 'puce'. Ditto for computer palette
> names like 'medium sea green' and 'peach puff 33'.
>
> 'Peach moon' does suggest a color, but it also
> suggests a season, which is not the intended effect.
> More on this later.
>
> 'The names could be fancied up - 'emerald' or 'jade'
> rather than 'green', 'amethyst' rather than 'purple',
> and so on. Gem names might be sufficiently divorced in
> the original context to provide an inventory of useful
> names.
>
> Another possibility, suggested by 'peach', would be to
> divide the occurrences by seasons. That notion
> encounters multiple problems, of course. The usual
> north-south hemis thing, for one. And just plain
> regional questions. Bog people might hold out for
> 'cranberry' while Texans would insist on 'nopal'.
>
> Other possibilities exist for a quadripartite
> division. Fire, water, air and earth. Playing card
> suits. Cardinal directions. Since so much of the
> planet's population now lives in cities, perhaps
> aspects of the urban experience should be used,
> suggesting names like 'Backed-up Toilet Moon', 'Drug
> Bust Moon' and so on. I'm sure we'll think of
> something.
>
> -Lance
>  
>
> Lance Latham
> [hidden email]
> Phone:    (518) 274-0570
> Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
>  
>
>
>
>
>
>
> __________________________________
> Start your day with Yahoo! - Make it your home page!
> http://www.yahoo.com/r/hs
>
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
RE:
> As I recall, the term originated from an extra moon
> in a season, not in a
> month. That does not mean that the term blue moon is
> not used to describe
> the second full moon in a month. It is.

Lance replies:
The two recent articles in 'Sky & Telescope' that are
germane to this topic are:

Hiscock, P. "Blue Moons", S&T, v97, n3, 52-55 (March
1999)

and

Olson, D. et al, "What's a Blue Moon?", S&T, v 97, n5,
36-38 (May 1999)

The latter article tracks down the source of the
misconception to a third article in S&T in 1946
(Pruett, "Once in a Blue Moon", S&T, March 1946, page
3), in which the author erroneously interpreted
almanac data, or simply never referred to an almanac
at all.

According to the articles, this error was not widely
popularized until a Deborah Byrd read the 1946 article
on an NPR progam in late January 1980. Byrd apparently
did not bother to check her sources either. This
misinformation was then picked up by Margo
McLoone-Basta and Alice Siegel for "The Kids' World
Alamanac of Records and Facts", New York, 1985, World
Almanac Publications. Again, they failed to check
their sources or information. This nonsense was then
incorporated in 1986 into the 'Trivial Pursuit' game,
again without checking information or sources, where
it gained further popularity.
 
As the article by Olson et al makes abundantly clear,
the 'second full moon in a month' interpretation is
simply an error, period. That error has been
popularized by others who did not bother to check
their facts.

If 'popularity' is the determinant of definitions,
facts be damned, then this list really serves no
purpose, does it? We can just go with whatever the
media morons tell us.

> I wonder about the relative frequencies of the two
> definitions. I don't
> recall their being so far apart. Using the original
> definition, the
> frequency would be about 1 in 1/(x-12) years, where
> x is the mean number of
> lunations in a year. With the new definition it
> would be about 7 in 19 years
> (235 lunations in 228 months). This winds up being
> the same frequency,
> doesn't it? It's just different lunations.

Lance replies:
The Olson et al article points out early on that the
article by Hiscock, a 'folklorist', has a problem;
viz., the 'second full moon' notion does not match the
page from the 1937 "Maine Farmers' Almanac" reprinted
in the article. Forty editions of that Alamanc from
1819 to 1962 contain references to 'blue moons'; not a
single one of them is the second full moon in a month.

The rule for a blue moon in the alamanc is, according
to the Olson et al article:

'Seasonal Moon names are assigned near the spring
equinox in accordance with the ecclesiastical rules
for determining the dates of Easter and Lent. The
beginnings of summer, fall, and winter are determined
by the dynamical mean Sun. When a season contains four
full moons, the third is called a Blue Moon.'

Regarding frequency of occurrence, the Pruett error
simply states that 7 times in 19 years, one obtains 13
full moons in a year and hence a month with two full
moons. That pops out a blue moon roughly every 2 1/2
years.

Looking at the Olson article, I see dates for blue
moons in a table on page 37 that appear to have
roughly the same period. Unfortunately, several of the
dates are indicated to be errors, so it's not clear
what the period is. Another table, on page 38, would
probably clear that up, but it indicates dates for
both rules, using color coding that did not reproduce
in my photocopy, so it's not clear which is which. In
any event, the dates are probably not far off the 2-3
year period length.

I recall starting to look at this problem several
years ago. My preliminary results did not match the
S&T results for all dates, so I cannot verify a
period, but I recall it being longer than the above
value. I had to pack for Alaska about that time, and
that mini-project has been on hold ever since. It
certainly looks plausible, though, that Victor is
correct here - that while the dates are completely
different, the average period between blue moons is in
the 2-3 year range in both cases.

> A resident of Texas is a
> > Texan,
>
> And he would call a resident of Connecticut a
> Yankee.

Lance replies:
Yankee, damyankee, carpet bagger or 'Mr. President',
depending upon how obnoxious said person was perceived
to be. Connecticut is called the 'Nutmeg State' from
time to time, but that relates to the reputation of
the state's residents for being swindlers; apparently
it was not uncommon practice in colonial times to
grind up hickory nuts and sell them as nutmeg. It's
not a term favored today by the residents of
Connecticut.

> > (5) It might be productive, or at least fun, to
> > produce names for these events.

Lance replies (to himself):
The Olson article mentions several names applied to
full moons throughout the year. English tradition
derived, I'm guessing here, from Anglo-Saxon tradition
related to the older luni-solar calendar and popular
usage. The moon around Easter was 'Egg Moon', August
has a 'Fruit Moon', and so on. The third full moon,
not the fourth, was chosen so that other moon names,
like 'Moon Before Yule' and 'Moon After Yule' would
align correctly with the solstices.

The Anglo-Saxon calendar described by Bede does, in
fact, attempt to bracket the winter solstice with the
two 'Giuli' months, so this practice is consistent
with the structure and design of the older luni-solar
calendar.

A quick look in a Farmer's Alamanc might supply these
names. We also know 'Harvest Moon' and "Hunter's Moon"
already. I don't have ready access to such an almanac
right now. If someone on the list does, it would be
great to get a complete list of the moon names.

Anyway, the color coding idea for "second <lunation
phase> in one month" is still viable, it seems.
Proposal, then, of a definition:

Grey Moon   = 2nd new moon in any calendar month, when
it occurs
Purple Moon = 2nd first quarter, ditto
Green Moon  = 2nd full moon, ditto (aka 'Cheese Moon')
Burgundy Moon  = 2nd last quarter, ditto

'Burgundy' seems better than 'brown' for a moon name,
and uses the red part of the spectrum with little
possibility of confusion with the orange-red color of
the moon in eclipses.

-Lance


Lance Latham
[hidden email]
Phone:    (518) 274-0570
Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
 





               
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Re: new moons

VictorEngel
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Lance and Calendar People,

> If 'popularity' is the determinant of definitions,
> facts be damned, then this list really serves no
> purpose, does it? We can just go with whatever the
> media morons tell us.

In this instance, though, the "correct" use of the term is likely to be just
as authoritative, an invention of the Farmer's Alamanac. So then we have a
choice between two alternatives: 1) The "correct" version, which uses a
formula at odds with most people's comprehention of calendars and seasons
and which is not frequently cited, except in articles to debunk #2, or 2)
the popular version, which uses the calendar in common use, and is easy to
understand.

Victor
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
RE:

> In this instance, though, the "correct" use of the
> term is likely to be just
> as authoritative, an invention of the Farmer's
> Alamanac.

Lance replies:
Here, I would definitely disagree. First, the Almanac
definition can be traced back to 1818. Second, the
Alamanc version obviously relies on an even older
tradition based on the tropical year starting with the
winter solstice. Third, the Almanac definition has
been carefully thought out.

By contrast, we have what has been admitted to be an
error, compounded by popularizers who either frankly
don't know what they are talking about and/or didn't
check their information before releasing it. All of
this dates from no later than 1980 at the earliest.

By no conceivable stretch of the imagination can these
be treated as somehow equivalent alternatives, between
which one is free to pick and choose.

> So then we have a
> choice between two alternatives: 1) The "correct"
> version, which uses a
> formula at odds with most people's comprehention of
> calendars and seasons
> and which is not frequently cited, except in
> articles to debunk #2, or 2)
> the popular version, which uses the calendar in
> common use, and is easy to
> understand.

Lance replies:
This  boils down to a question of whether one is
willing to concede that uninformed popular opinion
carries weight in an intellectual argument.
Personally, I don't give a damn how many people accept
a statement; if it's demonstrably incorrect, then it's
incorrect, period.

-Lance

 

Lance Latham
[hidden email]
Phone:    (518) 274-0570
Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
 





               
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
In reply to this post by VictorEngel
Group -

For those following this thread, I located 2 web sites
of potential interest:

   http://www.obliquity.com/astro/seasonal.html

has a write-up and tables on the correct definition of
Blue Moon, including past and future dates.

   http://www.fabandpp.org/cotm/moons.htm

has an odd collection of names for moons. The first
table is of little use, as far as I can determine, but
a seasonal list of moons is included from another S&T
article by Matthews (no other info provided) that
lists traditional English moon names. The questions
following the list indicate that the author does not
understand the Anglo-Saxon calendar or the definition
of Blue Moon.

What I find interesting, now that I give it a bit of
thought, is the fact that the Anglo-Saxon calendar
intercalated a thirteenth month periodically. If I'm
right about the intercalation scheme, the period would
be similar to that of a Blue Moon. This notion needs
more thought.

The provided list gives:

Moon After Yule
Wolf Moon
Lenten Moon

Egg Moon (also, Easter or Paschal Moon)
Milk Moon
Flower Moon

Hay Moon
Grain Moon
Fruit Moon

Harvest Moon
Hunter's Moon
Moon Before Yule

In this list, the Yule (Giuli in Bede) months are
paired around the winter solstice as they are in the
A-S calendar. The Lida summer months are given
separate names, but there is a general carry-over of
names - 'Thrimilchi' in Bede is the month of 'three
milkings', i.e., roughly May when the grass is
abundant and cows need thrice daily milking. This
corresponds to 'Milk Moon' in the list. The 'Lenten'
and 'Easter' moons are obvious Christian additions;
Bede is suspected of faking the corresponding
'Hredamonath' and 'Eosturmonath' names in his
narrative.

-Lance
 

Lance Latham
[hidden email]
Phone:    (518) 274-0570
Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
 





               
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Re: new moons

VictorEngel
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Lance,

My point is that I think we're experiencing etymology in action. If you
don't like it, you're most likely, nevertheless, powerless to do anything
about it. Such is the way with language. Another example would be the phrase
"begs the question". This phrase has been used in error so much now that the
incorrect usage has come to be accepted recently. I think the analogy is a
good one because, 1) the recent usage is incorrect and common and 2) the
correct usage is mostly unknown to the general public.

By the way, if the term "blue moon" has origins before the Farmer's Almanac,
shouldn't there be some citation to that effect somewhere? I understood that
it was an invention of the Farmer's Almanac editors.

And how about fourth, the Almanac definition is well defined, or is that
what you were implying by well thought out? The monthly version is not well
defined because it's dependent on timezone.

Victor

> -----Original Message-----
> From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List
> [mailto:[hidden email]]On Behalf Of Lance Latham
> Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 3:42 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: new moons
>
>
> RE:
>
> > In this instance, though, the "correct" use of the
> > term is likely to be just
> > as authoritative, an invention of the Farmer's
> > Alamanac.
>
> Lance replies:
> Here, I would definitely disagree. First, the Almanac
> definition can be traced back to 1818. Second, the
> Alamanc version obviously relies on an even older
> tradition based on the tropical year starting with the
> winter solstice. Third, the Almanac definition has
> been carefully thought out.
>
> By contrast, we have what has been admitted to be an
> error, compounded by popularizers who either frankly
> don't know what they are talking about and/or didn't
> check their information before releasing it. All of
> this dates from no later than 1980 at the earliest.
>
> By no conceivable stretch of the imagination can these
> be treated as somehow equivalent alternatives, between
> which one is free to pick and choose.
>
> > So then we have a
> > choice between two alternatives: 1) The "correct"
> > version, which uses a
> > formula at odds with most people's comprehention of
> > calendars and seasons
> > and which is not frequently cited, except in
> > articles to debunk #2, or 2)
> > the popular version, which uses the calendar in
> > common use, and is easy to
> > understand.
>
> Lance replies:
> This  boils down to a question of whether one is
> willing to concede that uninformed popular opinion
> carries weight in an intellectual argument.
> Personally, I don't give a damn how many people accept
> a statement; if it's demonstrably incorrect, then it's
> incorrect, period.
>
> -Lance
>
>  
>
> Lance Latham
> [hidden email]
> Phone:    (518) 274-0570
> Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
>  
>
>
>
>
>
>
> __________________________________________
> Yahoo! DSL - Something to write home about.
> Just $16.99/mo. or less.
> dsl.yahoo.com
>
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Re: new moons

VictorEngel
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Lance and Calendar People,

> For those following this thread, I located 2 web sites
> of potential interest:
>
>    http://www.obliquity.com/astro/seasonal.html
>
> has a write-up and tables on the correct definition of
> Blue Moon, including past and future dates.

I find it interesting that the Astronomical Seasons chart and the Maine
Farmer's Almanac chart have different numbers of blue moons (see 1961 where
the Astronomical has one but the Maine Farmer's Almanac doesn't). Does this
imply that one of the seasons in the Astronomical chart has one fewer moon
than normal? If not, how would you explain the count discrepancy?

Victor
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Re: new moons

VictorEngel
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Lance and CP,

> For those following this thread, I located 2 web sites
> of potential interest:
>
>    http://www.obliquity.com/astro/seasonal.html
>
> has a write-up and tables on the correct definition of
> Blue Moon, including past and future dates.

That same site has a blue moon calculator that seems to use the incorrect
definition. The calculator allows you to toggle between blue and black
moons. For 2005, it chooses December as the only month of a black moon, so I
assume they define a black moon to be the second new moon in a month.

Victor
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Re: new moons

Palmen, KEV (Karl)
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Victor, Lance and Calendar People

I'd call the third of four full moons between a solstice and equinox a natural blue moon or a seasonal blue moon.
While I'd call the second full moon in a X calendar month an X blue moon, where the X calendar is a solar calendar with 12 months in a year, especially in the case where X is Gregorian.

Likewise for a black moon w.r.t. new moon.


Karl

07(15(05 till noon
Yerm Calendar month 07(15 is within December.

-----Original Message-----
From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List
[mailto:[hidden email]]On Behalf Of Lance Latham
Sent: 05 December 2005 21:42
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: new moons


RE:

> In this instance, though, the "correct" use of the
> term is likely to be just
> as authoritative, an invention of the Farmer's
> Alamanac.

Lance replies:
Here, I would definitely disagree. First, the Almanac
definition can be traced back to 1818. Second, the
Alamanc version obviously relies on an even older
tradition based on the tropical year starting with the
winter solstice. Third, the Almanac definition has
been carefully thought out.

By contrast, we have what has been admitted to be an
error, compounded by popularizers who either frankly
don't know what they are talking about and/or didn't
check their information before releasing it. All of
this dates from no later than 1980 at the earliest.

By no conceivable stretch of the imagination can these
be treated as somehow equivalent alternatives, between
which one is free to pick and choose.

> So then we have a
> choice between two alternatives: 1) The "correct"
> version, which uses a
> formula at odds with most people's comprehention of
> calendars and seasons
> and which is not frequently cited, except in
> articles to debunk #2, or 2)
> the popular version, which uses the calendar in
> common use, and is easy to
> understand.

Lance replies:
This  boils down to a question of whether one is
willing to concede that uninformed popular opinion
carries weight in an intellectual argument.
Personally, I don't give a damn how many people accept
a statement; if it's demonstrably incorrect, then it's
incorrect, period.

-Lance

 

Lance Latham
[hidden email]
Phone:    (518) 274-0570
Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
 





               
__________________________________________
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
In reply to this post by VictorEngel
RE:
> My point is that I think we're experiencing
> etymology in action. If you
> don't like it, you're most likely, nevertheless,
> powerless to do anything
> about it.

Lance replies:
I agree with you, that we are witnessing a general and
broad decay of educational and literary standards in
our culture today. For the bulk of this process, I
credit television, which has consumed time that would
otherwise be spent reading, has ensconced marketers
and ignoramuses in the position of arbiters of culture
in the place of editors, and has generally encouraged
a populistic, least-common-denominator approach to
virtually everything.

I do not agree that we are powerless to affect the
process. Nor do I believe that we should suppinely
watch the process unfold, as we are told we must by
those who profit from it.

What to do? First, people must be willing to change
their attitude toward the process. They have to stop
passively accepting it, and start seeing it as a
pernicious process of decay that needs to be reversed.
People must grasp that, intentionally or not, they
systematically are being conditioned, that the results
of the process are not positive, and that they do have
the ability to say 'No'.

Second, they have to get involved and start holding
feet to the fire - editors, TV people, and media
people generally. In the example of the TV twit who
was deluged with mail informing her that 2000 was not
the 'start of the millennium', and who exasperatedly
stated that in effect, she did not to want to hear it
because it was not expedient for the marketing effort,
then that would have an excellent time to unleash holy
hell on the station, her, and her supervisors.

Third, a large boot up the ass of 'educators' in the
country who are consistently rewarded with more money
for increasingly poor performance. Put problem schools
on a 3-year program. If they can't clean up their act,
close 'em. And enough of the 'we spent money on
education' nonsense, when the funds are going to
contractors for 32 million dollar football stadia.
Parents and students need to grasp that the operative
part of the word 'school' is 'school', and that needs
to passed to the educators, who are caught in the
middle.

A big part of the problem is also a generation of
lazy, self-indulgent and guilt-ridden parents who
insist on their right to have children but can't be
bothered to raise them, and dump them on the school
system instead.

Somewhere in this line of argument, it is necessary to
include the observation that while languages do
change, and are dynamic tools, that process is
generally positive when the language is adapting to
new uses and incorporating new vocabulary. What we
have today is entirely different - a process mediated
by ignorance that produces more ignorance. What we are
being asked to accept, nay, told that we must accept,
is a process in which gross errors are propagated by
those who are in a position to know better and the
result is simply accepted.

The central question is, what drives the change?
Intelligent and educated people making new
contributions to the language, or uneducated morons
making stupid mistakes that go uncorrected? Tell me
that high schools graduating kids who can't even read
their diplomas is a good thing. If we are 'powerless'
to stop that process, we might as well throw in the
towel now.

 
> By the way, if the term "blue moon" has origins
> before the Farmer's Almanac,
> shouldn't there be some citation to that effect
> somewhere? I understood that
> it was an invention of the Farmer's Almanac editors.

Lance replies:
It's clear to me that the contents of the almanac
reflected knowledge and concerns that were current at
the time. I doubt that the almanac would invent such a
term 'out of the blue', if you will. If they had, no
one would have understood it. No one has mentioned an
explanation of the term appearing in the early
alamanacs, so I conclude that it was not invented at
that time, but was rather a common usage being
documented in the almanac.

The actual origins of the term 'blue moon' are not
known, as far as I am aware. The Hiscock article in
S&T covers some of the possible lore behind 'blue',
but nothing definitive has emerged yet. Personally, I
like the volcano-cum-dust explanation, but other than
timing, no documentation supports that notion.

 
> And how about fourth, the Almanac definition is well
> defined, or is that
> what you were implying by well thought out? The
> monthly version is not well
> defined because it's dependent on timezone.

Lance replies:
Well, yes, the traditional definition does not seem to
have any serious holes. I notice that the 'Obliquity'
page that I cited lists dates under two different
definitions, one for 'astronomical seasons' and one
for the Maine almanac. But the almanac itself is very
clear that Right Ascension of the Mean SUN (RAMS) is
observed, i.e., a fictitious mean sun moving with
uniform speed.

Clearly, a mean sun must have replaced an 'observed'
sun at some point in the definition, if the 'blue
moon' concept is old enough.

It appears to me that the Blue Moon might be related
to intercalation in the Anglo-Saxon calendar. Bede
referred to that calendar in his 'De temporum ratione'
of A.D. 725, and we can safely assume that the
calendar was in existence for some time before that.
The concept that a 'mean' moon was a computationally
convenient fiction is hallowed in the computus
centuries earlier, and a 'mean' sun was known to the
Greeks. So we are left with a large period in which
such a change might have occurred, if it occurred at
all.  
 
-Lance


Lance Latham
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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
In reply to this post by VictorEngel
RE:

> I find it interesting that the Astronomical Seasons
> chart and the Maine
> Farmer's Almanac chart have different numbers of
> blue moons (see 1961 where
> the Astronomical has one but the Maine Farmer's
> Almanac doesn't). Does this
> imply that one of the seasons in the Astronomical
> chart has one fewer moon
> than normal? If not, how would you explain the count
> discrepancy?

Lance replies:
The discrepany lies in the different definitions used
for solar motion. The almanac uses RAMS, hence, a
fictitious 'mean' sun moving at a uniform speed. The
'astronomical seasons' column, on the other hand,
depends upon the eccentricity of the Terran orbit, so
seasons are of unequal length.

As a consequence, the almanac and 'astronomical'
seasons may differ just enough to shift the position
of the 3rd FM to another season. Notice that the
winter almanac dates always come earlier than the
'astronomical', while the summer dates always come
later. In the case of 1961, the date is not so much
missing as it has been shifted to the following
February by the definition of the season.

In both cases, the Blue Moons always fall in Feb, May,
Aug or Nov, one month before the equinox or solstice.

-Lance


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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
In reply to this post by VictorEngel
RE:
> That same site has a blue moon calculator that seems
> to use the incorrect
> definition. The calculator allows you to toggle
> between blue and black
> moons. For 2005, it chooses December as the only
> month of a black moon, so I
> assume they define a black moon to be the second new
> moon in a month.

Lance replies:
'Grey moon' using the new and improved
definition...Yeah, I found different calculators out
there, and wasn't impressed.

I did find the Olson article in S&T online, and was
able to color-code my photocopy with a highlighter. I
count 11 BMs (hmm, not a felicitous abbreviation, is
it?) using the error and only 8 using the traditional
definition. Not sure that's statistically significant,
but it implies a difference in frequency and period
between the 2, in addition to the fact that the dates
don't match at all.  

-Lance

> Victor
>


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Re: new moons

Lance Latham
In reply to this post by Palmen, KEV (Karl)
RE:
> I'd call the third of four full moons between a
> solstice and equinox a natural blue moon or a
> seasonal blue moon.
> While I'd call the second full moon in a X calendar
> month an X blue moon, where the X calendar is a
> solar calendar with 12 months in a year, especially
> in the case where X is Gregorian.
>
> Likewise for a black moon w.r.t. new moon.

Lance replies:
Since the Olson et al article broached the subject of
the relation to the 'Millennium', I feel free to
propose that the second full moon in a calendar month,
since it is an admitted error and nothing more, should
be called a "Moron's Moon".

Liberal use of this derisive term should suffice to
'put the genie back in the bottle', as Olson et al
would have it. I think of it as more of a flushing
motion, actually.

Come to think of it, it might be useful, about a week
before a Moron's Moon, to write the local paper and TV
stations with a simple explanation, reminder and
warning, so they don't propagate more nonsense. A year
or so of that might kill it off.

-Lance


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Re: new moons

Victor Engel
In reply to this post by Lance Latham
Dear Lance and Calendar People,

Lance's answer, below, misses my point entirely. In the general case, in
each calendar, there are three moons in a season. The exceptional case,
the case with the blue moon, has an extra moon. In both calendars, the
same moons are being observed. It's just where they sit in relation to
the seasons that is different.

As long as a period of time is not ambiguous between the two calendars
with respect to wether a moon is before or after an endpoint of this
period of time, then, each calendar has the same number of moons.

Since the website is so organized, a convenient period of time for
illustration purposes is the 20th century. Both calendars count the same
number of full moons during the 20th century, do they not? Whether the
century is counted from 1900 or 1901, there is no ambiguous full moon at
either endpoint.

However, count three full moons for each season plus an extra moon for
the blue moons in the chart listed and you wind up with a different
count for each calendar. That is an impossibility. Either a blue moon
has been counted or missed in error, or there is a "normal" season with
something other than 3 full moons. Which is it?

Victor

Lance Latham wrote:

> RE:
>
>
>>I find it interesting that the Astronomical Seasons
>>chart and the Maine
>>Farmer's Almanac chart have different numbers of
>>blue moons (see 1961 where
>>the Astronomical has one but the Maine Farmer's
>>Almanac doesn't). Does this
>>imply that one of the seasons in the Astronomical
>>chart has one fewer moon
>>than normal? If not, how would you explain the count
>>discrepancy?
>
>
> Lance replies:
> The discrepany lies in the different definitions used
> for solar motion. The almanac uses RAMS, hence, a
> fictitious 'mean' sun moving at a uniform speed. The
> 'astronomical seasons' column, on the other hand,
> depends upon the eccentricity of the Terran orbit, so
> seasons are of unequal length.
>
> As a consequence, the almanac and 'astronomical'
> seasons may differ just enough to shift the position
> of the 3rd FM to another season. Notice that the
> winter almanac dates always come earlier than the
> 'astronomical', while the summer dates always come
> later. In the case of 1961, the date is not so much
> missing as it has been shifted to the following
> February by the definition of the season.
>
> In both cases, the Blue Moons always fall in Feb, May,
> Aug or Nov, one month before the equinox or solstice.
>
> -Lance
>
>
> Lance Latham
> [hidden email]
> Phone:    (518) 274-0570
> Address: 78 Hudson Avenue/1st Floor, Green Island, NY 12183
>  
>
>
>
>
>
>
> __________________________________________
> Yahoo! DSL ? Something to write home about.
> Just $16.99/mo. or less.
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Re: new moons

Palmen, KEV (Karl)
In reply to this post by Charles Moyer
Dear Lance and Calendar People

-----Original Message-----
From: East Carolina University Calendar discussion List
[mailto:[hidden email]]On Behalf Of Lance Latham
Sent: 06 December 2005 17:19
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: new moons


RE:
> I'd call the third of four full moons between a
> solstice and equinox a natural blue moon or a
> seasonal blue moon.
> While I'd call the second full moon in a X calendar
> month an X blue moon, where the X calendar is a
> solar calendar with 12 months in a year, especially
> in the case where X is Gregorian.
>
> Likewise for a black moon w.r.t. new moon.

Lance replies:
Since the Olson et al article broached the subject of
the relation to the 'Millennium', I feel free to
propose that the second full moon in a calendar month,
since it is an admitted error and nothing more, should
be called a "Moron's Moon".

Liberal use of this derisive term should suffice to
'put the genie back in the bottle', as Olson et al
would have it. I think of it as more of a flushing
motion, actually.

KARL SAYS:
I think calling at a Gregorian CALENDAR blue moon would be sufficient. It shows that it is dependent on the calendar. The Gregorian Calendar Blue Moons clearly occur on different months to the Julian Calendar Blue moons or the Iranian Calendar Blue moons (which are closer to the Natural Blue Moons).


This month of December 2005 is a Gregorian Month that contains a whole Yerm Calendar Month. See
http://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud/palmen/yerm2.htm
These months occur approximately once every 2 yerms. For yerms 1 to 15 of this cycle they are

01(12 within October 1997
03(12 within July 2000
05(15 within May 2003
07(15 within December 2005
09(14 within August 2008
12(01 within July 2011
13(17 within January 2014 and 14(02 within March 2014

Also February 2014 is within 14(01.

I could also identify natural quarters (solstice to equinox periods) that contain three complete yerm calendar months.

Karl

07(15(07
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