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Express View on supermoon: Once in a blue moon

There is an inevitable loss of wonder about familiar things. The finest cuisine can become mundane, the job that was once aspirational becomes a chore. But just a slight shift in perspective, and the contempt that familiarity breeds turns into wonder and curiosity once again. The Super Blue Moon, visible in all its splendour on August 30, was a rare event — it is visible far less often than once in a blue moon. The Blue Moon is an event on the calendar, which is the occurrence of a second full Moon in a month. Then, there’s a “Super Moon” — visible when it is at the closest point to earth. In an age when people stare down at their screens, both combined — along with a rare glimpse of Saturn with the naked eye — to make them look up at the sky.

Before the “Blue Moon” became a calendar event, it was just a clever turn of phrase, as in “once in a blue Moon”. Around 400 years ago, the belief held by many that the Earth’s satellite was blue in colour was debunked — and the idea entered language as an idiom. Now, of course, with telescopes, landers and so much else, knowledge of the Moon is far greater and is only set to increase. That it has been there, looking down at Earth, since long before the dawn of humanity, has done little to dim the fascination.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in the rush to view the Super Blue Moon. As it draws closer to Earth, as people can view more of it and as data and insight into its composition increases, it becomes more novel. It might be worth trying to look at all the boring things that make up the day with a slightly more open mind, gaze at them a little longer. There might just be a few Super Moons, closer home.

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