How To Watch The Blue Moon Friday, Because This Bright Opportunity Only Comes Once In A While

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: Nothing beats a little nighttime stargazing. Or, if you live in an area with a lot of light pollution, maybe just skygazing. But whatever! There's a real genuine charm in taking in the beauty of a night's sky, and never moreso than when you've got a chance to see something unique! Which is exactly what will happen on Friday. Here's how to watch the blue moon on July 31, because they only come every so often.

First things first: You may be wondering "What's a blue moon?" Simply put, it's the second full moon in a single calendar month. It's a reasonably rare occurrence — it requires that there be a full moon right at the start of a month, so that there's enough time left to cycle through again. They aren't actually blue, and that's a little disappointing, but it's nonetheless a fun thing to witness, and you won't get another chance for a few years.

So how can you take in the blue moon? Here's the "where" and "when" of it: The blue moon will be at peak fullness early Friday morning, at 6:42 a.m. ET.

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There are some obvious considerations, however, with that early morning window. The sun will also be rising by then if you're on the East Coast, while it'll be incredibly early if you're out West. In that case, you might want to catch your glimpse sometime throughout Thursday night. Sure, it may not be quite the full-face brilliance that you'd get if the moon were hitting peak fullness a little earlier, when the skies were still a bit darker, but the difference should be nearly imperceptible to your eyes. And anyways, everybody needs a good night's sleep.

For the record, if you miss the blue moon, you won't be able to see one again for several years, according to AL.com. That's a stiff price to pay, on top of whatever social stigmatization you'd encounter with your presumably blue-moon-obsessed peers. If you do miss it, you'll have your next shot in 2018, which actually figures to be an even rarer year for blue moons; there will be two of them that year, in January and March.

But why wait? Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out for it on Thursday night and Friday morning — my eyes wil be on the skies, at the very least.

Image: Getty Images