The Van Trump Report

A Rare Halloween Blue Moon!

In total, for 2020, we’ll have 13 full Moons, including 2 two Supermoons, and a full Moon on Halloween, which is more uncommon than you may realize.

The first full Moon of 2020 howled onto the scene with January’s Wolf Moon on January 10th. And usually, we have one for each month, making the total 12 for the year. But on occasion, some months will have two full Moons. This October is one of those rare events… we had a full Moon back October 1st, which experts call the Harvest Moon, and we have another full moon this Saturday, October 31st—a Halloween full Hunter’s Moon in all time zones, making this a super rare year.

A full moon on Halloween just doesn’t happen all that often. In fact, a Halloween full Moon hasn’t appeared for everyone in all U.S. time zones since 1944! There was a full moon for the Pacific area back in 2001 and about one every 19 years can be spotted in certain areas. 

This well-known lunar cycle was discovered in 432 BC by the Greek, Meton, of Athens. He determined that after 19 years have elapsed, the phase of the Moon will repeat on the same date. Well , not always. Because of slight variations in the Moon’s orbital period, and the number of leap days that intervene over a 19-year time span, the Metonic Cycle can be accurate only to within a day.

For a Halloween full Moon, the Metonic Cycle worked well early in the 20th Century—in the years 1925 and 1944.  But thereafter, using the cycle, the date of full Moon shifted a day to November 1st (in 1963, 1982, and 2001). But then, in 2020, it returned to October 31st. Making it a rarer sight, indeed. But for 2020 on through the balance of the 21st century, a full Moon on Halloween will occur once every 19 years, so we will all again see a 100%-illuminated Halloween full Moon in the years  2039, 2058, 2077, and 2096. 

Moral of the story, for us old folks we might want to take a couple of extra moments and pause on Halloween to check out the full moon! (Source: Farmers Almanac)

Howling Wolf Dark Background. Full Moon and the Wilderness.

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