DR. SKY BLOG

No trick, all treat: Get set for rare full blue moon on Halloween

Oct 28, 2020, 2:00 PM
(AP Photo, File)...
(AP Photo, File)
(AP Photo, File)

Halloween is near and this year may not have the social gathering of past, with COVID-19 lurking around the corner, but the night skies of Oct. 31 will be full of the light of a rare full moon.

That’s right – 2020 brings us a very rare full moon indeed, as we will experience the sight of a true full Halloween moon, not seen since 1944!

This will also be the second full moon in the calendar month of October and we call this a “blue” moon.

Observers in Australia and parts of the eastern hemisphere will actually have two full moons in November.

For the moon to be officially full, it must be 180 degrees from the sun.

What many of you think is a full moon may actually be close, but no Halloween treat for you.

With the color orange on your mind with Halloween pumpkins, the rising moon on Oct. 31 will be orange indeed.

The color blue will only be in the mind of the observer, as a blue moon is just a description of what the second full moon in a month and some even say that a blue moon is the third full moon in a season of four full moons.

Either way, here is what the Halloween full moon should look like upon rising at 5:59 p.m. Arizona time on that night, just to the left of true east at 74 degrees.

The moon, when at the 180 degree position in the night sky, should reveal little or no shadows on the surface, as you see during the majority of the monthly lunar cycle.

On this rather spooky night, the moon will lie in the constellation of Aries and will appear to the left of the bright planet Mars.

To be precise, the moon will be full at exactly 7:49 a.m. Arizona time on Halloween. This is during the day part and we will wait for its arrival in the eastern sky at 5:59 p.m.

What a great sight that will be, as you prepare for your Halloween night celebration!

Another unique fact about this Halloween blue moon: This will be the smallest of all full moons of 2020, sometimes known as a micro moon.

At that time, the moon will be 252,380 miles from us.

The closest of full moons in 2020 occurred April 8, when the moon was 221,851 miles away.

The distance between the closest and farthest moons is 30,529 miles. That is quite a difference.

Here is what the difference looks like in the size of the visible moon.

Even as a smaller moon, the amazing coincidence of a true full moon on Halloween night and a blue moon make for a most interesting night.

The next closest full moon, or perigee full moon, will occur May 26, 2021, at 222,116 miles away from us. On that date, we get to experience another total lunar eclipse.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

Dr. Sky Blog

(NASA Photo)...
Steve Kates

Red letter days ahead in December as Mars moves closer to Earth

During the month of December, expect to hear a lot about Mars and how best to view it and learn about it.
6 days ago
(Pixabay Photos)...
Steve Kates

It’s not a Thanksgiving turkey in the sky – that’s Cygnus the Swan

Point a pair of binoculars toward the sky on Thanksgiving night and find the magnificent Cygnus the Swan constellation.
13 days ago
NASA's new moon rocket lifts off from Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral,...
Steve Kates

Everything you need to know about NASA’s Artemis I rocket to the moon

The long-awaited launch of the NASA Artemis 1 moon rocket has finally happened!
20 days ago
This Crab Nebula mosaic image was taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA/ESA Image)...
Steve Kates

The magic of constellation Taurus includes open star clusters

As we move deeper into the skies of autumn, we come across the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull.
27 days ago
(NASA Image)...
Steve Kates

Taurid meteor shower could bring in colorful fireball season in coming days

With Halloween behind us and the prospect of a new set of November events to look forward to in our skies, we present fireball season 2022!
1 month ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Steve Kates

Lots to be thankful for up in the November skies, including a total lunar eclipse

As 2022 is nearly complete, we look to the skies of November for some amazing events to rally around, the best of which is a total lunar eclipse.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
No trick, all treat: Get set for rare full blue moon on Halloween