Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
10:51 AM 31st October 2020

Halloween Sees A Rare Treat Of A Blue Moon

How rare is a full moon on Halloween?

On Saturday when we celebrate Halloween there will be an unusual celestial event to grace our skies when a Blue Moon rises. This rare event only happens seven times every 19 years, which means the next one will be on 31 October in 2039, followed by 2058 and 2077. Blue Moons can occur every two or three years but they are very rare to appear on Halloween.

Why two full moons in one month?

The month of October in 2020 will actually have two full moons, the Harvest moon on the 1 October and a Blue moon on the 31 October, which will be a rare Halloween Blue Moon. The second full moon in a month is always called a Blue Moon. Even though it is called a Blue Moon the moon isn’t actually blue.

Why a full moon?

A full moon occurs when the moon's earth-facing side is completely illuminated by the sun. Scientists say that when you see the moon looking really large as it rises in the sky your brain is actually playing a trick on you.

There are many reasons as to why this is, but the main theory is that when the moon is low on the horizon it can be compared to earthly things, like buildings and trees, and this is why it seems huge.

Every month of the year there is a full moon which illuminates the sky, each of which is given a different name.

Dates and names of full moons in 2020

January 10 - Wolf Moon
February 9 - Snow Moon
March 9 - Worm Moon
April 7 - Pink Moon
May 7 - Flower Moon
June 5 - Strawberry Moon
July 5 - Buck Moon
August 3 - Sturgeon Moon
September 2 - Corn Moon
October 1 - Harvest Moon
October 31 - Blue Moon
November 30 - Beaver Moon
December 29 - Cold Moon

There are a total of 12 full moon phases during the annual lunar cycle plus the occasional Blue Moon and each full moon has a unique name.

When is the next Blue Moon?

October 31, 2020
August 31, 2023
May 31, 2026
December 31, 2028
September 30, 2031
July 31, 2034
January 31, 2037
March 31, 2037
October 31, 2039

The traditional names given to the full moons during the year are derived from the North American traditions. Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.

However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

The next full moon will rise on 30 November and is the Beaver Moon, followed by the Cold Moon on the 29 December.