View Full Version : Bad Website -- no full moons in February

2004-Mar-03, 05:43 PM
I found this webpage (http://pages.eidosnet.co.uk/johnnymoped/funcorner/funcornerlateralthinkingproblems/funcorner_lateralthinkingsolution2_page3.html) while looking at some lateral thinking puzzles. It says:

What happened in February 1866 that will not happen again for another two and a half million years?

There was no full moon. January and March of that year each had two full moons a most unusual occurrence.

Sky Map shows full moons at 20:29 (UT) Jan. 30, and 11:52 Mar. 1, 1866, so that checks out. But the Metonic Cycle (225 lunar months, which is almost exactly 19 years) should give us another February without a full moon, and yep Sky Map says 16:19 Jan. 30, and 04:00 Mar. 1, 1885 were full moons. Perhaps the question meant EST, or similar. Still, just the law of averages should have it more often than 2 1/2 million years. And now that I think about it, SeanF and I talked about Feb. 1999 here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=1562#1562), full moons at 16:07 Jan. 31, and 06:59 Mar. 2, 1999.

Is this a misstatement of some other puzzle?

PS: Nevermind, I found that it was taken from one of Paul Sloane's books, and it appears on his errors page (http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/sloane/Errors.htm).

2004-Mar-03, 09:45 PM
I would think that 10^6 years would produce more than one date (1999) since 1889 for a full moon in February.

Isn't there an algorithm to calculate such trivia?

Generally if an error is posted on most of the www BBS's there will be a lot of shots taken, and if it is an autour with books to sell he gets a lot of free advertising.