Halloween’s ‘Blue Moon’ Spooks Sky-Watchers And Sets-Up The ‘Beaver Moon Eclipse’

Did you see the “Halloween Hunter’s Blue Moon” last night?

It was the first full Moon seen in all U.S. time zones on Halloween since 1944 and the last to do so until 2039.

Here are some fabulous images of this rare event—and details of the “Beaver Moon or Frosty Moon Eclipse” coming in 29 days:

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A ‘Blue Moon’ in Manhattan

Below is a fabulous image of the “Blue Hunter’s Moon” rising behind lower Manhattan and the One World Trade Center in New York City on Saturday night, as seen from Greenbrook Township, New Jersey:

Why did the ‘Blue Moon’ not look blue?

Only rarely does the Moon actually appear blue, typically because of a volcanic eruption or forest fire that send lots of smoke and fine dust into the atmosphere. 

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As it appears on the horizon the full Moon usually looks a pale orange for the same reasons as the color of a sunset—as shown by this image of the full Moon rising over Ankara, Turkey:

A ‘Blue Moon’ in London

Meanwhile, the “Blue Moon” rose in London just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was giving a live TV address advising that England would go into another lockdown. Here’s the Moon shining through cloud over the Shard and Tower Bridge in London:

What is a ‘Blue Moon?’

There are two definition. Last night’s “BlueMoon” was the second full moon in a calendar month—the second full moon in October 2020—though a full Moon can also be called “Blue” when it’s the third of four full Moons in one astronomical season.

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Here’s an image of the “Blue Moon” from Vladivostock, Russia:

When does the full Moon look its best?

Always as it rises and sets. When it; high in the sky it’s too bright to look at. Although most people look at the full Moon rise in the east close to dusk, the view is much the same if you look west before dawn at a moonset—as this image, below, from Venezuela shows:

An almost-full Moon can look just as good

Although moongazers are always out to see the full Moon rise, the previous night and the night after are usually almost as good a sight.

Below is an image of beachgoers watch as a “waxing gibbous”—almost full—“Blue Moon” rises on Friday, October 30, 2020 in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

When is the next full Moon?

The next full Moon is a bit special. It will occur on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 09:42 UTC, but as well as being a full Moon it will also be a “Frosty Moon” or “Beaver Moon Eclipse.”  

What is a ‘Beaver Moon Eclipse?’

It’s the final penumbral lunar eclipse of 2020, which has seen four such events.

Visible only from North and South America, Australia and East Asia, about 83% of the Moon will slip into Earth’s outer shadow in space—its fuzzy penumbra—and consequently turn a dull grey color. That’s because most of the sunlight that illuminates it will be blocked by the Earth. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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