2020 is proving to be full of rare and exciting events. Well, some of them are exciting anyway.
July had Comet Neowise and a double meteor shower, and now October is bringing us two full moons—one of them particularly spooky. It’s called a blue moon, and it has nothing to do with the wheat beer (or the color).
Wait, what is a blue moon?
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, a blue moon is either an additional full moon in a given season (there are normally three, or 12 per year), or a second full moon in a single month (since the moon cycle is typically 29 days). The phenomenon only happens about once every two and a half to three years, so it’s a pretty uncommon occurrence. This year, the blue moon happens to fall on October 31, Halloween, which only happens once every 19 years. OoOoh...
Why is it called a blue moon?
The Halloween blue moon won’t look any different, so don’t expect to see a bright blue orb in the sky. Its name, which has been around for hundreds of years, originally referred to something absurd and eventually came to mean an occurrence that’s exceedingly uncommon (you’ve heard the expression “once in a blue moon”).
What about October’s other full moon?
Even though the Halloween blue moon is rare and exciting, don’t miss out on this year’s harvest moon, which falls on October 1. It’s bigger, fuller and more orange-looking than other moons (like a pumpkin), and it rises a bit earlier, so you’ll have the chance to get some great moon-in-the-sky Instagrams for the few days following its appearance.
When can I see the Halloween blue moon?
The Halloween blue moon will peak, or be at its most full, at 9:49 a.m. EDT, according to Space.com. This will be the last monthly blue moon until August 2023, and since we only get this chance once in a, well, you know…just don’t miss it.