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PHOTOS: Rare Blue Moon Illuminates Night Sky

By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
August 23, 2013; 4:03 AM ET

A large blue moon illuminated the night sky Tuesday, Aug. 20, setting a rare scene for stargazers and photogs alike.

The name does not come from the actual appearance of the moon, according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Paquette. Instead, it is one of many nicknames for the rare event. It is often also called a Sturgeon moon.

By definition, a blue moon is the second full moon to occur during a single calendar month, or the third full moon of four in a season.

The blue moon is not necessarily more spectacular than any of the other full moons, according to Paquette, so those that missed the opportunity can still catch another bright display later this summer.

The fourth full moon of the summer season will occur on Sept. 19, 2013.

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"Full 'blue' moon rising, tonight, near the Fort Point lighthouse in Stockton Springs, Maine," AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook Fan Barbara posted with the picture above.

Phull moon in Philly. Finally got the shot I wanted, even if I get that chance once in a blue moon. HDR effect used," wrote AccuWeather.com Astronomy FaceBook fan Edmond Krasniqi.

Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com Astronomy FaceBook fan Patrick Comins.

Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com Astronomy FaceBook fan Brian Drourr.

"Full Sturgeon Moon (aka Blue Moon of August 2013) with a few thin cirrus clouds - near Dayton, Ohio," AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook fan Angie Entingh posted with the photo above.

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