Despite all the creative Halloween full Moon pictures, a full Moon occurring on Halloween is not a common occurrence and only happens about four to five times a century. According to Farmer’s Almanac the next Halloween full blue moons will occur in 2039, 2058, 2077, and 2096.
So, a full Moon on Halloween is special, but this year it is also a “Blue Moon”! There are several reasons a moon is referred to as “blue”. The most typical blue Moon types are monthly and seasonal. If there are two full moons in a month, it’s a monthly blue moon; if it’s the third of four full moons in a season, it’s a seasonal blue moon.This one is a monthly blue Moon because it’s the second full Moon of the same month — following the Harvest Moon of Oct. 1.
The only way a Moon ever looks blue is if there is an abundance of particles in the atmosphere, usually caused by something major, such as a massive dust/sand storm, forest fire (smoke), volcanic eruption, etc . . . and 2020 certainly doesn’t need any additional events like those!
When you look at the full moon on Halloween night, it won’t appear blue in color but you’ll be looking at something pretty uncommon.
But wait, there’s more! When the Halloween Blue Moon is full, it will be at its furthest point from Earth in its approximately 29 day lunar cycle, so that also makes it a “MicroMoon”. Centuries of human folklore have passed down the name of this full Moon as “Hunter’s Moon”
Therefore, the official description of our next full Moon is “Micro Halloween Blue Hunter’s Full Moon.” Be sure to step outside sometime around 7:00 p.m. on Halloween night to watch it rise and ponder what the planet will be like on Halloween October 31st, 2039.
On a personal note, for the last decade, I’ve been volunteering/leading Bernheim’s Full Moon hikes and other night programs. I’ve been looking forward to and talking about the 2020 “Micro Halloween Blue Hunter’s Full Moon” event for years! Not once did it enter my mind that a pandemic would prevent us from having this special Full Moon celebration hike. I’m sad to miss the opportunity to share such a unique natural event with our many Bernheim members and night hikers. Unfortunately, social distancing is just too big a challenge for night programs as it would be unsafe to be spread out so far in the dark. I look forward to resuming our night adventures programs when the pandemic allows.
-Bill Napper, Bernheim’s Volunteer “Dark Ranger”