By: SPACE.com Staff
Published: 09/01/2012 10:33 AM EDT on SPACE.com

Skywatchers all over the world jumped at the chance to view and photograph Friday's (Aug. 31) full moon, the last so-called "blue moon" until July 2015.

Friday's full moon was the second one to rise during the month of August, following the full moon of Aug. 1. This qualifies it as a blue moon, according to the popularly accepted (but incorrect) definition of the term.

"Blue moon" orginally referred to the third full moon in a season that has four full moons instead of the usual three. But in 1946, a writer for "Sky and Telescope" magazine erroneously reported the second-full-moon-in-month meaning, and the definition stuck.

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  • The full 'blue' moon appears in the sky

    The full 'blue' moon appears in the sky over Christmas decorations in the neighborhood where US President Barack Obama and the first family are vacationing in Kailua, Hawaii, on December 31, 2009. Normally in a calendar year there are 12 full moons but when there is a 13th in the calendar year it is called a Blue Moon AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD

  • Istanbul, Turkey. (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/AltugArsoy" target="_hplink">@AltugArsoy</a>)

  • Blue moon over Paris, France. (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/RhinocerosVert" target="_hplink">@RhinocerosVert</a>)

  • Blue moon....well, orange moon.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Leith_AdieStahl"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1302668916/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Leith_AdieStahl">Leith AdieStahl</a>:<br />

  • Southwest Australia (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/Coopera89/status/241668142449975297" target="_hplink">@Coopera89</a>)

  • Bethesda, MD (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/jasonmc100/status/241688577120010240" target="_hplink">@jasonmc100</a>)

  • Bloomfield, NJ. (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/ivani217/status/241700749942329344" target="_hplink">@ivani217</a>)

  • (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/dash04/status/241698329489182720" target="_hplink">@dash04</a>)

  • The Blue Moon Down The Block

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Gigi820"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Gigi820">Gigi820</a>:<br />

  • Blue moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/jv8222"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/aol_profile_img/3832877.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/jv8222">jv8222</a>:<br />Picture by Jamie From Bloomfield NJ

  • Blue Moon August 31, 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Kelby_Roberson"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1817589103/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Kelby_Roberson">Kelby Roberson</a>:<br />This photo of the "blue moon" was taken tonight, August 31, 2012, from eastern North Carolina, USA. You can find more pictures of this event on my facebook fan page- Kelby Roberson Photography.

  • Tokyo, Japan. (CREDIT: <a href="https://twitter.com/hiyo_otamanist" target="_hplink">@hiyo_otamanist</a>)

  • Blue Moon, August 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/playnotwork"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/674252744/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/playnotwork">playnotwork</a>:<br />Strasburg, VA

  • Unclear Blue Moon with the Street Lamp Light

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kdwr0920"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/kdwr0920">kdwr0920</a>:<br />New York City's Blue Moon Light

  • Blue Moon in WV

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Old_Crow_Wv"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1059706853/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Old_Crow_Wv">Old Crow Wv</a>:<br />Beckley, WV

  • "Blue Moon" August 31st, 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jonathan_LaPlante"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1375402082/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jonathan_LaPlante">Jonathan LaPlante</a>:<br />"Blue Moon in Southern New Hampshire"

  • Blue Moon from Eastford, CT

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/loringjane"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/loringjane">loringjane</a>:<br />Blue Moon as seen from Eastford, CT, USA

  • A real Bbue moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/rdking"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1104046189/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/rdking">rdking</a>:<br />Taken from my yard in Austin Texas with an Infrared camera

  • Late Summer Full Moon in Aquarius (blue)

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/OC_Surfer"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/2984399-tiny.png?20120331150208" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/OC_Surfer">OC Surfer</a>:<br />August 29th in Portland, Oregon, using 14x optical zoom on a handycam.

  • From Fountain Colorado

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/imikejr"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/aol_profile_img/1646175.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/imikejr">imikejr</a>:<br />Aug 31 2012 Blue Moon

  • Blue Moon. Grand Rapids, MI USA

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phern_Sendin"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100000367888241/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phern_Sendin">Phern Sendin</a>:<br />I took this about ten minutes ago when the sky cleared. It's just absolutely gorgeous.

  • The blue moon 8/31/2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ai-Ling_Yew"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/657461981/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ai-Ling_Yew">Ai-Ling Yew</a>:<br />

  • Blue moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tatyana_Gronback"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1007159961/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tatyana_Gronback">Tatyana Gronback</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon_North East Texas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/EFranze"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1567879819/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/EFranze">EFranze</a>:<br />Blue Moon_North East Texas

  • man and dog, once in a blue moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MartinSWilson"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1701260543/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MartinSWilson">MartinSWilson</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon over Nashville,Tn

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Cippin"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100000102124890/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Cippin">Cippin</a>:<br />Blue Moon Over Nashville, TN

  • Blue Moon in Lakeland,Fl

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mabeldi9"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1208992031/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mabeldi9">mabeldi9</a>:<br />

  • Blue moon in Aquarious

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CzechChick"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1198186299/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CzechChick">CzechChick</a>:<br />Blue moon in Aquarious as reflected in the Lower Senate Park pool, Washington, DC

  • Blue Moon Peachtree City GA

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jorge_Roman"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100000766594695/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jorge_Roman">Jorge Roman</a>:<br />Taken from my backyard in Peachtree city GA

  • Blue Moon over Lake Evans, Riverside, CA

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lovinbats"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lovinbats">lovinbats</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon over Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/shutterwi"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/3833516.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/shutterwi">shutterwi</a>:<br />Photographed with Canon 7D with Canon 100-400mm 5.6 IS lens. For more photos of the Chequamegon Bay Wisconsin region see http://shutterwi.com

  • Blue Moon August 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Capricornjack83"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/590247999/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Capricornjack83">Capricornjack83</a>:<br />The view of the "Blue Moon" from Aurora, Colorado

  • Blue Moon over Bainbridge 8/31/12

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/penfolds90"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/aol_profile_img/3833538.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/penfolds90">penfolds90</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon over Grand Junction. Colorado 8/31/2012 sdw

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Shannon_Whittley"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/548421259/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Shannon_Whittley">Shannon Whittley</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon & campfire

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lara9209"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lara9209">lara9209</a>:<br />who could ask for anything more ??

  • Blue Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/gabrock21"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/gabrock21">gabrock21</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon/ 8/31/2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/gabrock21"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/gabrock21">gabrock21</a>:<br />

  • blue moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/starkeye"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/731892089/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/starkeye">starkeye</a>:<br />Marina del Rey, Ca

  • bluemoon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/starkeye"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/731892089/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/starkeye">starkeye</a>:<br />starkeye photography, Marina del rey, Ca

  • Blue Moon Rising

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tetsu_Ishikawa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tetsu_Ishikawa">Tetsu Ishikawa</a>:<br />from Yokohama JAPAN

  • Full Moon over Dalsland,Sweden

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/keith44"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/899224-tiny.png?20120520050910" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/keith44">keith44</a>:<br />by gkr

  • Blue Note

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/view_from_the_veranda"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/2226907-tiny.png?20111214113527" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/view_from_the_veranda">view from the veranda</a>:<br />There was definitely a blue gleam in the Moons eye tonite.

  • Blue Cheese Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Meggan_Wood"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/573591796/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Meggan_Wood">Meggan Wood</a>:<br />From Maricopa, AZ, 8-31-12 just before midnight. NexStar 5SE telescope, 40mm eyepiece w/ blue filter, Canon Rebel XSi.

  • From Maui

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/C_Frank_Wolfe"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/C_Frank_Wolfe">C Frank Wolfe</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mrh219"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/aol_profile_img/3834168.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mrh219">mrh219</a>:<br />Silver Lake, NY

  • "Blue Moon" over Lake Michigan

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tyderyiem"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Tyderyiem">Tyderyiem</a>:<br />The "blue moon" rises over Lake Michigan

  • Blue Moon Peeking At Me

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Cobalt_Blue_Roses"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Cobalt_Blue_Roses">Cobalt Blue Roses</a>:<br />Blue was being coy...

  • A Redish Blue Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/millervic"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/611896263/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/millervic">millervic</a>:<br />

  • Blue Moon over the Golden Gate Bridge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/StevenGatlin"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1131296663/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/StevenGatlin">StevenGatlin</a>:<br />San Francisco Bay Area photographer Steve Gatlin captured this shot of the Blue Moon over the Golden Gate Bridge. August 31, 2012. http://GatlinPhotography.com

  • Friday, August 31, 2012 Blue Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Al_Maslowski"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Al_Maslowski">Al Maslowski</a>:<br />Alfred Maslowski 2012 Portland, OR, USA

  • Cloudy Blue Moon

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mary_Jane_Washburn"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1526970561/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Mary_Jane_Washburn">Mary Jane Washburn</a>:<br />Photo taken in Farmington,NM by MJ Washburn

Friday's blue moon rose on the same day that late astronaut Neil Armstrong was memorialized in Cincinnati. Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, died Aug. 25 following complications from a recent heart surgery.

Several skywatchers thought of the famous moonwalker when they looked up last night. [Gallery: August 2012 Blue Moon]

"From Michigan, we are thinking of you, Neil," wrote Dennis Daniels, who photographed the full disk of the moon Friday night.

Blue moons aren't actually blue, unless clouds of smoke or volcanic ash in Earth's atmosphere lend them that particular hue. Rather, they usually look like any other full moon in the sky. [Photos: The Blue Moon and Full Moons of 2012]

However, some sky photographers, such as Johan Clausen of Denmark, used photographic effects to get pictures of blue-looking moons.

Blue moons occur because lunar months and calendar months aren't perfectly synched up. It takes the moon 29.5 days to zip around our planet, during which time we see the satellite go through all of its phases. But Earth's months all have 30 or 31 days (except February), so once in a while two full moons get squeezed into a single month.

The moon looked markedly different from various locations around the world because of the different weather and atmospheric affects in each location.

An almost red moon was photographed over Evergreen Valley in Olympia, Wash., by Mary P. Bowman.

Before Friday night, the last blue moon occurred on Dec. 31, 2009. The next blue moon will come along on July 31, 2015.

The phrase "once in a blue moon" implies that the celestial phenomenon is incredibly rare, but it's really not. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years, and sometimes much more frequently. In 1999, for example, two of them rose within three months. The next year that will see two blue moons is 2018.

If you snapped any good photos of Friday's full moon and would like them to be considered for a future story or gallery, please send them to SPACE.com assistant managing editor Clara Moskowitz at cmoskowitz@space.com.

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