Only During A Blue Moonlit Night: Rare Astronomical Events

Our days are often composed of a set of pre-planned activities, like cooking breakfast, going to work, and spending a few minutes working out before finally calling it a day. Besides these common activities, though, the world also has a way of inserting a couple of surprise occurrences every now and then. It could be a chance encounter with a friend you haven’t seen for years or a last-minute idea to go on a road trip with your family. Well, whatever it may be, the universe undoubtedly deserves credit for adding color to our daily routines.
Speaking of the universe, the world beyond the skies is no stranger to these rare circumstances. Throughout history, people have wondered what role the stars in the night sky had in the machination of the universe. Like each of our lives, these stars and planets often follow a predictable motion. Along the way, however, they do something that’s just too extraordinary to ignore, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on today.

The Blue Moon

To some degree, we’re all familiar with the notion of things only happening every once in a blue moon. Well, as seldom as that sounds, an actual blue moon isn’t all that rare.
Despite its name, the occurrence of a blue moon doesn’t actually have the moon shining a color blue. With earlier uses of the term dating back to as far as 1937, there are now two types of blue moons to look forward to. Seasonal blue moons often happen once every three years, with the titular blue moon being the third out of a season’s four full moons. A normal season only has three full moons. Meanwhile, a monthly blue moon is the second full moon of the month. Only happening every two to three years, a monthly blue moon takes place when a month’s first full moon comes out during its first days. However, it’s quite rare to have these two occurrences happening in the same year. In fact, we still have around three decades before we get a year with both a seasonal and monthly blue moon – 2048, save the date.

Planetary Alignment

Besides being a subject for scientific study, the universe also takes credit for being the origin of many literary expressions. Along with claiming things are as rare as a blue moon, many of us enjoy the notion of being extremely lucky whenever the stars align. With that said, our chances of being very lucky are more probable than the planets ever forming a perfect line.
While that may be the case, that doesn’t mean none of the planets have ever been close to each other before. Although still very rare – rare being a complete understatement – the last time that happened was back in 949 AD. The next time we’ll be seeing the eight planets in the same part of the sky again will reportedly be in May 2492. Meanwhile, the solar system’s brightest planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mercury, and Mars, appeared together in 2002 and is set to do so again in 2040.

Halley’s Comet

Despite the lack of electricity and state-of-the-art equipment, ancient civilizations still went out of their way to learn more about the stars. One thing they didn’t realize, however, is that there’s one comet that loves to pass by the Earth every 75 years.
Initially thought to be different comets, Halley’s Comet has since become one of the most popular occurrences space enthusiasts love to discuss and look forward to. With its name being a tribute to its discoverer, Edmond Halley, the comet has graced our skies for quite some time already. In fact, one of the earliest sightings of this beauty was recorded by the Ancient Greeks back in 466 BC. This was then followed documented once more by Ancient Chinese astronomers who saw the comet in 239 BC. Now, for many of us who want to see it first hand, Halley’s Comet is reportedly expected to pay us another visit in 2061.