2 Full Moons Will Be Rising in the Sky This October, Including a Halloween Blue Moon

published Oct 1, 2020
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Credit: Shutterstock/Ricardo Reitmeyer

Every month, a full moon bearing a different name makes an appearance in the night sky. But in October, the night sky is twice as nice, because earthlings are going to get the chance to see two full moons—including a Halloween Blue Moon.

The Harvest Moon will rise the evening of October 1, 2020, while the Blue Moon will debut its on October 31, 2020 (that’s right, Halloween night). This double feature doesn’t happen very often, though, as the Harvest Moon usually occurs in September. However, because the full moon that’s closest to the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22) is always deemed the Harvest Moon, this year’s early October date made it happen.

The Harvest Moon’s name originates from the days before tractor lights, when farmers relied on the full moon during peak harvesting season to work through the night. Its size differs year to year, since the moon’s orbit around the earth isn’t a perfect circle and the distance between the two will vary. This year’s Harvest Moon is expected to be the second smallest moon of 2020, but it’s still bigger than 2019 when it was referred to as a micro-moon. And since it’ll be near the horizon, it might appear to give off an orange hue.

Expect to watch out for the Harvest Moon starting at 5:05 p.m. EDT on October 1, and look for the fiery red object that you might spot next to it. It’s not a star, but the planet Mars.

Now, let’s chat about the Blue Moon. The most popular definition of a Blue Moon is that it’s the second full moon of a calendar month, so the name isn’t related to the season and can happen at different times of the year. It has nothing to do with its appearance, but rather the unusual occurrence of when it does take place.

The Blue Moon is happening on Halloween morning (but early hours), which might make the holiday a little more spooktacular. The full moon will be at its peak at 9:49 a.m. EST, but depending on where you’re located, you might still have to wake up during strange hours (but probably will be worth the lack of sleep). Oh, and Mars will once again be nestled next to the full moon, so be sure to look out for it.

So grab your hot apple cider, a nice fleece blanket, and enjoy these full moon sightings this fall.