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Blue moon: Two chances to see this rare event

Blue moon: Early risers will see the blue moon Friday morning and in the evening. What's a blue moon?

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A full moon is seen from the Atahualpa Stadium in Quito. This is the second time in this month that a full moon is seen - the first was on August 1 to 2. This phenomenon, which is referred to as the Blue Moon. The next blue moon is in 2015.

REUTERS/Gary Granja

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The saying “once in a blue moon” refers to something that’s exceedingly rare. But in Los Angeles you’ll have two chances to see this lunar occurrence Friday, when a so-called blue moon comes into view.

The first opportunity will be Friday morning — yes, the morning — as the blue moon is setting for the day, said Anthony Cook, astronomical observer at Griffith Observatory. Look for the early-morning blue moon between 6:30 and 7 a.m. PDT, he said.

Later in the day, you’ll get a second chance to see the blue moon, when it rises at 7:13 p.m. PDT.

So what is a blue moon? It’s the second full moon within one calendar month.

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The moon isn’t actually blue. And it might even take on an orange hue as it starts to rise in the sky, Cook said. If anything, the Friday night moon will most likely appear an especially brilliant white.

“There’s nothing unusual really about the moon itself,” Cook said. “It will look like the usual moon.”

The genesis of the term “blue moon” is unclear.

“It’s not really certain” where it came from, Cook said. “Why ‘blue’ was chosen isn’t really known for sure.”

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