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What you need to know about the rare Halloween full moon

What you need to know about the rare Halloween full moon - image

This will be the first time a full moon has fallen on Halloween since 1974 and it won’t happen again until 2039, but there are a few other reasons why this October full moon will be extra spooky.

“You could call it a Boo-Blue-Super Mini-Hunter Full Moon,” said Rick Stankiewicz, publicity director for the Peterborough Astronomical Association.

READ MORE: Full Hunter’s Blue Moon to rise on Halloween before clocks fall back

Here is why Stankiewicz might say that: 

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  • Boo: Full moon falls on Halloween
  • Blue: Second full moon in the month.
  • Super Mini: Furthest from Earth and appearing as the smallest full moon of 2020. The apogee — that is, when the moon’s orbit takes it furthest from Earth — technically occurs on Oct. 30, when the Moon will be 406,394 km away.
  • Hunter Moon: The full moon that follows the Harvest Moon (Oct. 1, 2020), which is always the first Full Moon closest to the Fall Equinox. The Hunter Full Moon will usually be in October or November.

Stankiewicz said the blue moon part of the name is a bit deceiving. “It won’t look blue,” he said. “At moonrise, 6:24 p.m., it might look yellowish or orange if we are lucky.”

Click to play video: 'A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween' A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween
A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween – Oct 30, 2020

He said the best time to see the Moon is shortly after moonrise, low in the eastern sky. That’s because it will be closer to the horizon. “The Moon will look a little bigger then,” he said. “The odds of having a hint of colour is always better when it is near the horizon because of the atmosphere it has to shine through.”

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If you miss the view this time around, you’ll have to wait until 2039 to see it again.

“It is not the rarest celestial event because it does repeat itself every 19 years,” Stankiewicz said. “But let’s face it, there are lots of ‘stars aligning’ for all these moon-types to be coming together on a Halloween night.”

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