Hunter’s Blue Moon Halloween 2020

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I did a complete write-up in 2018 on the Hunter’s Moon so, I won’t repeat it, here. That being said, this is a Blue Moon as October’s first full moon fell on…well…the first.

Blue Moon Image One
Blue Moon with Mars from the Parking Deck
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From Moon Giant:

Humans through the ages have always found autumn’s full moons to be creepy and not without good reason. [T]his year, the moon will be extra exciting. The month starts with the Harvest Moon on October 1st and a second Blue Moon on Halloween, October 31st. The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that falls closest to the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd. In most years, the September Full Moon lands closest but, this is one of the rare years that the October Full Moon falls very early in the month and closest to the Equinox. This makes the first Full Moon the Harvest Moon and, the second, the Full Hunter’s Moon.

Moon Over The Eno Image Two
Moon glow over the Eno
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More from Moon Giant:

The modern day definition of a Blue Moon is when there are 2 Full Moons in one month. A Full Moon occurs roughly every 29.5 days and, on the rare occasion when the Full Moon falls at the very beginning of a month, there is a good chance a Blue Moon will occur at the end of the month. Depending on the exact time of the Blue Moon it is possible that some places in the world don’t technically have a Blue Moon. The modern definition […] was derived from an earlier idea of what a Blue Moon was. This earlier definition says a Blue Moon is when there are [four] Full Moons in a season rather than the usual [three]. The Blue moon is the 3rd Full Moon out of the 4. This definition gets a bit complicated and its origins are murky. One school of thought has to do with the naming of the Full Moons. Many cultures named the Full Moons each month to reflect the times for planting, harvesting or seasonal conditions. When an extra Full Moon was thrown in it was referred to as a Blue Moon to keep the Full Moon names constant throughout the year. The idea of a Blue Moon being the extra full Moon in a season (or when there were 13 in a year) was widely used in 19th, and early 20th [century], Farmers Almanacs and the more modern version seems to have come from an article written in the 1930s that misinterpreted the Farmers Almanac definition. The article was titled “Once in a Blue Moon” and from that point on, the term became part of the popular culture.

Moon Over The Riverwalk Image Three
Mars & Moon over the Riverwalk bridge.
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From Time and Date:

Why is it called a Blue Moon? The historical origins of the term and its two definitions are shrouded in a bit of mystery and, by many accounts, an interpretation error. Some believe that the term “blue moon”, meaning something rare, may have originated from when smoke and ashes after a volcanic eruption turned the Moon blue. Others trace the term’s origin to over 400 years ago. [F]olklorist Philip Hiscock has suggested that invoking the Blue Moon once meant that something was absurd and would never happen. This Halloween Blue Moon […] is also a Micro Full Moon.

Barfing Pumpkin Daylight Image Five
My drunk, barfing pumpkin.
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Drunk Pumpkin Image Four
All lit up.
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100% illumination occurred at 10:49am EDT. ~Vic

Flashback Friday: Schrödinger’s Cat 1935

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Schrodingers Cat Image
Image Credit: chillingcompetition.com

Eight-four years ago, today, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his first of three essays on a Thought Experiment regarding a hypothetical cat:

[A] cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that, after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when, exactly, quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

[Schrödinger] intended the example [above] to illustrate the absurdity of the existing view of quantum mechanics:

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none. [If] it happens, the counter tube discharges and, through a relay, releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if, meanwhile, no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment poses the question, “when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?”

Schrodinger's Cat Image Two
Image Credit: andrewlawrenceking.com

The EPR Paradox was a thought experiment proposed by physicists Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR) that they interpreted as indicating that the explanation of physical reality provided by quantum mechanics was incomplete (PDF).

Interpretations of the Experiment
Schrödinger’s Foray into Quantum Mechanics
Honors & Awards
All About Science Article
References from Einstein: His Life and Universe