October has not one, but two full moons – and because it’s 2020, the second one naturally falls on Halloween.
That gives this year 13 full moons instead of the usual 12.
And if you spot what looks like a fiery red star near the full moon, that’s Mars.
The red planet made its closest approach to Earth earlier in October, and it’s still shining bright in the night sky.
October’s first full moon is the harvest moon on October 1, and the second full moon will occur on October 31. That’s right: a full moon on Halloween.
The full harvest moon provides light for farmers harvesting their crops into the night, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
While the moon won’t actually look blue, the second full moon in one month is usually referred to as a blue moon. This happens every 2.5 to three years, or “once in a blue moon.”
Previously, a blue moon was known as the third or fourth full moon in a single season.
Typically, the next moon after the harvest moon is known as the hunter’s moon – when hunters used moonlight to hunt prey and prepare for winter.
While a blue moon seems rare, a full moon on Halloween across time zones is even more rare – an event that hasn’t occurred since 1944.
However, a full moon occurs on Halloween every 19 years in some time zones, so you can expect a full Halloween moon again in 2039, 2058, 2077 and 2096.
The full Halloween moon will rise at 10:49 am ET on October 31 – which explains why the moon will be visible across time zones. This is also the last day of Daylight Saving Time, so set your clocks back an hour on November 1 at 2 am.
If you aren’t able to see it due to bad weather or cloud cover in your area, the Virtual Telescope Project will share a live stream of the Halloween blue moon rising above Rome.
This is also the last day of Daylight Saving Time for many people around the world, so set your clocks back an hour on November 1 at 2 am. (The clocks already went back one hour across Europe on October 25 at 2 a.m.)
We get it; this is a weird weekend. This has been the year of the pandemic, there’s a full moon on Halloween and the time changes the next day – and Tuesday is the US Election Day.
Each month of 2020 has brought its own surprises, which have been comparable to a veritable Jumanji game of “well, I didn’t see that coming.”
To help you keep calm and carry on, we suggest stargazing. Look up this weekend to see the full moon and Mars and revel in the wonders of the night sky.