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Rare Blue Moon Will Fall On Halloween For The First Time In 19 Years

If you're someone whose eyes are always focused on the skies, you likely find yourself in constant periods of waiting for the next big event to dot the night skies.

On one hand, this wait can likely feel frustrating as a lot of the rare ways that the moon can present itself or that the planets can interact will have people counting down literal years before they're visible. But at the same time, there is enough variety between these rare events that a different one seems to show up every few months so there's a lot to keep a stargazer occupied.

And if this describes you, you probably won't want to miss a big one that last happened when many of us were children.

Firstly, it should be noted that a blue moon isn't necessarily blue.

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Much as a pink moon doesn't feature any change in color either, the name has far less to do with how it looks than the traditions of those who historically observed it.

As Country Living reported, the name is derived from the old English "belewe," which means "to betray."

So technically, the blue moon we'll see in October is a "betrayer moon."

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So what was it betraying? Based on how infrequently a blue moon appears, the answer is likely the expectations of our ancestors.

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According to NASA, that's because a blue moon usually refers to the second full moon seen in a calendar month. Since full moons occur ever 29 days, this phenomenon usually doesn't happen.

However, a full moon can certainly slip in for a second time during a calendar month and tends to do so every two-and-a-half years.

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Indeed, that exact scenario what is expected to happen on Halloween night this year.

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However, it's apparently not the only way that a blue moon can occur.

As People reported, what we're talking about is a monthly blue moon while a third or fourth full moon in a season is considered a seasonal blue moon.

The next seasonal blue moon is expected to appear on August 22, 2021.

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Besides the way it enhances the holiday's spooky atmosphere, it's actually quite significant that this year's blue moon is taking place on Halloween.

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As People reported, we only see a blue moon fall specifically on Halloween once every 19 years, so we'd have to wait a long time to see this again.

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Although it's very unlikely that this year's blue moon will actually appear blue in color, it's actually not impossible.

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According to NASA, the moon can sometimes appear blue after a volcanic eruption has occurred.

That's because some of the ash clouds that spring forth from an eruption have particles that measure a micron in width. This is large enough to make red and yellow light scatter, but small enough for light of other colors to pass through.

That said, a sudden volcanic eruption on Halloween seems like the last thing any of us need this year so it's probably for the best if the moon isn't actually blue this time.

h/t: People, NASA

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