Blue Moon Majesty Wows Stargazers (Photos)
Sky watcher Victor C. Rogus sent in a photo he took of the August 2013 "blue moon" 3 seconds after the moment of full phase as given by the US Naval Observatory, 20:45:00, on August 21, 2013, in Jadwin, MO.
Credit: Victor C. Rogus
Sky watcher Elizabeth Therese Niwel sent in a photo of the moon taken August 20, 2013, in an undisclosed location.
Sky watcher Elizabeth Therese Niwel sent in a photo of the moon taken August 20, 2013, in an undisclosed location.
Credit: Elizabeth Therese Niwel

Last night's Blue Moon captivated stargazers around the world.

Although yesterday's (Aug. 20) full moon didn't look visibly different from other full moons during the year — the Blue Moon moniker simply denotes the third full moon in a season with four full moons — stargazers used the specially named moon as an excuse to look up at the sky for a night.

SPACE.com was flooded with amazing photos of the Blue Moon from readers and stargazers. We got submissions from areas all over the United States, other parts of the Northern Hemisphere and countries in the Southern Hemisphere. [Blue Moon Photos: August Full Moon of 2013 in Pictures]

"This evening I battled hordes of mosquitoes to capture as perfectly timed a 'Blue Moon' as I possibly could," Jadwin, Mo.-based space photographer Victor Rogus told SPACE.com via email. "I used an atomic clock to be as precise as possible in this endeavor."

Rogus took his photo just three seconds after the moon turned full phase at 9:45 p.m. EDT (0145 Aug. 21 GMT).

"[It was a] beautiful, romantic sight, despite the invading hordes of insects, but I caught a nice image," Rogus added.

One skywatcher in Australia saw a few familiar shapes on the Blue Moon.

"My wife pointed out the man on the moon followed by a elephant, monkey, camel and a horse," Michael Holliday told SPACE.com via email.

For most of human history, the moon was largely a mystery. It spawned awe and fear and to this day is the source of myth and legend. But today we know a lot about our favorite natural satellite. Do you?
Full Moon over Long Beach, CA
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Moon Master: An Easy Quiz for Lunatics
For most of human history, the moon was largely a mystery. It spawned awe and fear and to this day is the source of myth and legend. But today we know a lot about our favorite natural satellite. Do you?
Full Moon over Long Beach, CA
0 of questions complete

What's in a Blue Moon?

While the third full moon in a four-full-moon season is the technical definition of a Blue Moon, the term is also often applied to another kind of moon. An article in "Sky & Telescope" magazine in 1946 mistakenly defined a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month, and the term stuck.

Last night's full moon met the technical definition of a Blue Moon, but not the secondary classification.

The term Blue Moon also has nothing to do with the color blue. But at times the moon can take on a blueish glow from Earth when a volcano or a forest fire spews smoke and ash into the upper atmosphere.

Another Blue Moon will not occur again until 2015, but if you didn't catch last night's full phase, tonight's moon will also look full (weather permitting) to most casual observers.

  • Space.com
  • Supermoon! Not only is it the biggest full moon of the year, it's super cool.
  • Full Moons: They come around every month and light up the night.
  • Lunar Eclipses: There's nothing more spectacular than a blood-red moon in Earth's shadow.
  • Blue Moon: They're rare and amazing, if not actually blue.
  • Solar Eclipses: The moon has the power to block out the sun!

Editor's note: If you have an amazing photo of last night's full moon, or any other night sky sight, and you'd like to share it for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.