Stargazers should take note that a somewhat spooky Full Moon will coincide with Halloween this Saturday. A Halloween Full Moon has actually not happened since 1944, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, and another will not happen again until 2039. And that is not all, for October 31 finds this Full Moon identified as a rare Blue Moon.
Such a daunting designation simply refers to it being the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month.
It will be an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the 2020 Blue Moon with us!
Gianluca Masi, head of the Virtual Telescope Project
Blue Moons are understood to be relatively rare, occurring on average only once every 2.5 years.
But a Halloween Full Moon is all the more special, as such a serendipitious event has not happened since 1944, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
To put this into proper perspective, such a hair-raising Halloween event will not happen again until 2039.
How to watch the Halloween Blue Moon live online tonight:
Italy’s Virtual Telescope Project, had helpfully arranged for the public to watch the Halloween spectacle without needing to leaving home.
Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, head of the Virtual Telescope Project, said in a statement: “October 31 will bring us a so-called Blue Moon.
“[This is] nothing to do with the colour of the Moon, of course, it is just ‘an additional’ one.
“For sure, it will put on its usual great show and we will share the Moon rising above the skyline of Rome.
“It will be an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the 2020 Blue Moon with us!”
All that is required to catch this usual lunar event is an Internet-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone.
The free online session is scheduled October 31, 2020, starting at 4.30pm GMT at https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/.
Alternatively, you can simply watch all the action in the embedded Virtual Telescope Project stream found HERE
How do Blue Moons earn their strange names?
The current definition of Blue Moon” is actually a little more complicated the original one.
The term used to refer to the third Full Moon in a single season, such as winter, spring, summer or autumn.
Such seasons usually sport four Full Moons instead of the usual trio.
This definition was famous first laid-out by the Maine Farmers’ Almanac in the 1930s.
However, expert astronomy website Sky & Telescope has explained how this term has now been superseded.
They wrote ”[But] in 1946, amateur astronomer and frequent contributor to Sky & Telescope James Hugh Pruett (1886–1955) incorrectly interpreted the Almanac’s description, and the second-full-moon-in-one-month usage was born.”
And as already touched upon, these Blue Moons are totally unrelated with the lunar orb’s colour at this time.
The Moon can admittedly sometimes appear with ever-so slightly bluish tinge.
This is in part due to to the scattering of light by dust or smoke particles in our planet’s atmosphere.
But such effects are in no way related to the Moon’s phases in any way.
Why is this Saturday’s Blue Moon also called a Hunter’s Moon?
This weekend’s Full Moon also goes by another intriguing name.
Some people also call this Halloween’s Full Moon a Hunter’s Moon.
This is the traditional name for the First Full Moon after the Harvest Moon.
The Harvest Moon is the celestial event falling closest to the Northern Hemisphere autumnal equinox, which occurred on September 22.
In 2020, that cosmic distinction went to the Full Moon of October 1.
And if this was not enough, the 2020 Halloween Full Moon also qualifies as a ‘micro-moon’ – also known as a ‘mini-moon’.
This is because it will occur when Earth’s natural satellite is almost at its farthest point from our planet in its elliptical orbit.
As an example, on Friday, October 30, the Moon will be 252,522 miles (406,39km) distant.
This is significantly farther than its average distance of approximately 238,900 miles (384,500km).
However, amateur astronomers will most likely be unable notice the difference.
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