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Christmas Gift Guide

Harvest moon

Austrian moonrise

Beautiful flyby

Atmospheric amazement

High-definition moon

Setting the shot

Mysterious moon

Portland at dusk

Awe-inspiring moment

Serenity now

Moon over Mexico

Amazing Australia

A barn raiser

Beach moon

Shades of blue

Reflections on a moon

Old world

Beautiful hues

Peace and quiet

View from Jersey

Moon rising

When a giant, full blue moon rises, it's bound to capture the imaginations of sky watchers the world over. What does it really mean though?

According to the now-defunct Maine Farmers' Almanac, each season has three full moons, but when a fourth appears, it's considered a blue moon. Due to an error in the March 1946 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, however, people commonly interpret a blue moon to mean the arrival of a full moon in a month that already had one. Regardless of rival definitions, a blue moon only occurs once every two to three years and is a spectacular sight to witness. We've collected some mesmerizing images of the August 2013 blue moon snapped by moonstruck photographers around the globe.

Western wildfires turned the blue moon orange in this picture courtesy of Dave Berg. The photographer, located near Geneseo, Ill., used a Canon EOS 60D for the amazing photo.

Caption by / Photo by Dave Berg

Batuk Bhagwan and his trusty Fujifilm FinePix S9100 captured the blue moon playing hide and seek behind a large tree at a field in Elixhausen, Austria.

"This morning has been very nice and quiet but pretty chilly -- the first serious signs of autumn. I just was finished with delivering newspapers when [the] full moon started to set behind the horizon," Bhagwan told CNET.

Caption by / Photo by Batuk Bhagwan
Gregory Bradford snapped this shot of Canada Geese taking in Tuesday's blue moon at 7:45 p.m. PT at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, Calif. He used a Canon 60D camera with a 70-200mm lens.
Caption by / Photo by Gregory Bradford
As the blue moon shined over the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina on Tuesday, Bisse Bowman was ready with a Canon PowerShot S50X HS. Blue moons aren't actually blue -- well, no more so than any other moon with a bluish tint, that is.
Caption by / Photo by Bisse Bowman
Mauricio Hernandez, located in the super-dry Atacama Desert in South America, grabbed this sensationally sharp image of the blue moon.
Caption by / Photo by Mauricio Hernandez
Mauricio Hernandez prepping to take a once-in-a-blue-moon photo in the Atacama Desert in South America.
Caption by / Photo by Mauricio Hernandez
Flickr user Hyunkyun captured a different, and equally beautiful, view of the blue moon. Hyunkyun took the picture with a Nikon D5100 in Kingwood, Tex.
Caption by / Photo by Hyunkyun/Flickr
Fred Wiechmann captured the blue moon, in all of its glory, hanging over the never-ending tree line of Portland, Ore.
Caption by / Photo by Fred Wiechmann
Marc Richardson and his family witnessed the big blue moon at an outing at Lions Bay in British Columbia, Canada. Their expressions are priceless. Richardson used a Canon 5D dSLR, 70-200mm USM II lens for this unique personal shot.
Caption by / Photo by Marc Richardson
Marc Richardson also provided a unique photo of the blue moon illuminating Mabel Lake in British Columbia, Canada.
Caption by / Photo by Marc Richardson
Martin Lemus snapped this moody moon shot in Mexicali, Mexico, minutes before sunrise. He says he's already planning for the next blue moon in 2015.
Caption by / Photo by Martin Lemus
To capture this amazing high-definition shot of the blue moon, Australian photographer James Stephens used a Pentax K-5 II S dSLR, DA 55-300 lens, and a Promaster 1.7x teleconverter.
Caption by / Photo by James Stephens
The blue moon sets at the Ellis Barn in Davisburg, Mich. -- and Tom Hughes is there to capture it.
Caption by / Photo by Tom Hughes
What better place to observe a blue moon than a beach? Paul Cobb took this shot in Dorset on the south coast of the UK.
Caption by / Photo by Paul Cobb
Another great shot from the United Kingdom, this one from Simon Knox.
Caption by / Photo by Simon Knox
CNET reader Julian Herrera sent in this shot from Geneva, Switzerland.
Caption by / Photo by Julian Herrera
Photographer Stefano De Rosa and his Canon EOS 5D dSLR snapped a jaw-dropping photo of the blue moon rising over Volterraio Castle located on the Island of Elba, Italy.
Caption by / Photo by Stefano De Rosa
The blue moon couldn't elude Raymond Shobe, who easily found it floating over the skies of Hesperia, Calif. Shobe used a Canon EOS Rebel T4i dSLR to get the spooky shot.
Caption by / Photo by Raymond Shobe
Margaret Buchanan witnessed a serene moment as the blue moon rose over a sailboat at Colvos Passage in Fox Island, Wash.
Caption by / Photo by Margaret Buchanan
Another serene moment, this one captured from Island Heights, N.J., by Ed Hewitt.
Caption by / Photo by Ed Hewitt

Photographer Joan Gray, equipped with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II dSLR, captured this excellent long exposure of the blue moon rising over Mehama, Ore.

"Earlier in the day my husband and I staked out a clear-cut area on a hilltop about 6 miles away from our home," Gray told CNET. "At about 9 p.m., we decided we'd had too much wine to make the short drive, so we snuck onto our (absent) neighbors' back patio to watch the rise of the blue moon. Using my tripod, I took dozens of shots with my Canon 5D Mark II. It was a great night!"

Caption by / Photo by Joan Gray
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