Halloween’s Blue Moon

By Sid Baglini

OCTOBER 31, 2020 at 8:30 PM

Having walked in the rain or drizzle during the last four full Moon events, I don’t give much credit to the prediction for a clear night on Halloween which is our next full Moon.  Perhaps the magic of the little witches abroad that night will ensure favorable viewing conditions. 

This will be the second full Moon in the month, and so it is one of the famous “Blue Moons” (as in the phrase “once in a Blue Moon”). Don’t expect a blue tinge, but if you catch sight of it as it rises over the horizon, it may have an orange glow befitting All Hallows Eve. Under certain conditions such as a volcanic eruption or forest fires, the Moon may actually appear to have a blue hue. Particles in the atmosphere have to be just the right size to scatter red light and we do not anticipate such conditions on Saturday unless there’s a little more magic happening.

We will also refer to this as the Hunter’s Moon, probably attributable to the fact that both humans and animals are preparing for the winter months by stocking up on food. The Hunter’s Moon is always the one that occurs after the Harvest Moon which is closest to the autumnal equinox. Other names are Blood Moon referring either to the blood of the hunter’s prey or the red leaves, the Travel Moon or the Dying Grass Moon. A bonus name this time is the “minimoon”, the opposite of a super moon, because it will be further away from Earth on its elliptical orbit than any other moon this year.

Despite the tendency for Halloween images to include a full moon silhouetting a witch or black cat, full moons only occur on October 31st about once every 18 or 19 years

The Hunter’s Moon will be at its peak at 10:51 AM on Saturday, appearing in the sky opposite the Sun so you can get a daylight view of it in the morning.  It will rise about sunset but because of the Halloween festivities in the Borough, we will be walking at 8:30 PM Don’t forget to step outside around sunset and see if you can get a view of the orange hued moonrise.

Finally, to tie this event in with the arts, I’m including a link for the moldy oldie tune called “Blue Moon” performed by The Marcels in the ’50”s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0fy1HeJv80. (Actually, the song was written in 1934 by Rogers and Hart and has been performed over the years by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme to Rod Stewart, so take your pick, take a listen, and be ready to hum a bar or two as we walk under a Blue Moon!)

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