Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
On this fateful Halloween night (Saturday, Oct. 31), the stars will align to present us with a fittingly spooky full moon – and a "blue moon" at that.
As of Tuesday, Orlando's weather should yield clear skies, ideal conditions for admiring (or howling at, dancing beneath, etc.) the unique lunar phase. But don't expect a blue hue when you gaze up at the sky; the "blue moon" phrasing is more of a distinction, and less of a comment on the actual color. However, you can appreciate the rarity of the phenomenon.
"For more than half a century, whenever two full Moons appear in a single month (which happens on average every 2 1/2 to 3 years), the second full Moon is christened a 'Blue Moon
,' " according to Farmer's Almanac
"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. A full Moon on Halloween occurs roughly once every 19 years."
Because of assorted Leap Years and the moon's orbit, this 19-year cycle has been off by a day since 1944 — the last time there was a full moon on Halloween. After that, the full moon shifted to Nov. 1 … until this year.
According to the Farmer's Almanac
, the next time we'll see a 100 percent illuminated full moon on Halloween is in 2039 – then 2058, 2077 and 2096 – returning to the normal 19-year cycle.
For more info about the Halloween Blue Moon, visit Farmer's Almanac
, or watch this insightful video about the moon, in general, provided by the Cincinnati Observatory below.
This article was first published at our sister site CityBeat.
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.