Between once in a lifetimeand an almost miss with an extremely close 2020 has been a strange year for outer space. This October is no exception, giving a rare blue moon just in time for Halloween.
Because some trick-or-treaters stay indoors, October will not contain one but two full moons – a phenomenon known as a “blue moon” – which occurs about every two and a half years, according to NASA.
Blue moons occur because the lunar cycle and calendar year are not perfectly synchronized. Full moons come every 29 days, while most months are 30 or 31
The first full moon of the month comes on October 1. This year it is called, because it is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox.
The second full moon peaks at 10:49 ET on October 31, creating a spooky backdrop for an unusual Halloween. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the last Halloween full moon occurred in 2001, but only for central and quiet time zones.
This year is the first time a Halloween full moon has been visible in all time zones since 1944 – meaning that every person around the world will experience the Halloween moon together for the first time since World War II.
This moon is also known as Hunter’s moon, which is the first moon after the harvest moon. It was probably named for the season to hunt in preparation for winter. Other names include Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon, Travel Moon and Dying Grass Moon.
Unfortunately, it does not actually appear blue – the date of the full moon does not affect the color of the moon. But fires can affect the color of the moon, so it is possible to skywatchers incan see either a blue-blue moon or a red-blue moon next month.