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A rare ‘blue moon’ will light up skies this Halloween

For the first time since 1944, an unusual full moon will rise on October 31

By
Ellie Walker-Arnott
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As if this year hasn’t been frightening enough, we suddenly find ourselves in the run-up to Halloween. That’s right: October 31 is actually just around the corner.

While big costume parties are probably not on the cards this year, and the germ-fest that is apple bobbing is an absolute no-no, the day is still set to be suitably spooky thanks to a rare ‘blue moon’ that will be lighting up the dark night’s sky all around the world this Halloween.

What actually is a ‘blue moon’? Sadly, its name has nothing to do with its colour: on Halloween we’ll be treated to a big, bright full moon that’ll look no different to usual. But it is special in other ways.

A ‘blue moon’ is the name given to the second full moon that rises in one calendar month. October 2020 has two this year: a full ‘harvest moon’ which happened on October 1 and this ‘blue moon’ on October 31. 

They are pretty rare, hence the saying ‘once in a blue moon’, and usually occur every two and a half years.

As for a ‘blue moon’ falling on an already atmospheric night like Halloween? That’s even rarer. The last time it happened was 1944, and we won’t have such a fitting backdrop for our werewolf costumes again until 2039. So, parties or no parties, make the most of it!

Into the night’s sky? Here are the celestial events you need to know about in 2020

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