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.

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