TORONTO, ON., Oct. 30, 2020 — It should be extra light this Hallowe’en night as a Blue Moon will be shining big and bright. Well, ordinarily that would be a bonus for trick or treaters combing the city’s neighbourhoods, but this is no ordinary Hallowe’en as both Toronto’s and Ontario’s top doctors have advised children to stay home.
A Blue Moon merely means it is the second moon in any given month, and the first one this month rose above Toronto on October 1-2.
So what’s so special about this Blue Moon? For starters, it is the first blue moon since March 2018 and there won’t be another one until August 22, 2021. But that’s not all that’s special. This also will be the first Hallowe’en full moon since 1974, and it won’t occur again until 2039. This full moon is also referred to as a Hunter moon, which is the first full moon that follows the Harvest Moon (Oct. 1, 2020), the first Full Moon closest to the Fall Equinox. The Hunter Full Moon will usually be in October or November.
But that’s not all! You can also still see the bright red planet, Mars still looming close near this Hallowe’en Hunter Blue Moon.
According to earthsky.org Blue Moons can also be defined as the third of four full moons in any given season between a solstice and equinox.
Now don’t expect this full moon to actually appear blue. This is an effect that only happens either through Photoshop or when Earth’s atmosphere contains dust or smoke particles of a certain size to be able to scatter red light. And the moon does not have to be full for it to appear blue when this occurs.
When it comes to Blue Moons falling as the second moon of any given month, the last ones occurred on July 31, 2015; January 31, 2018; and March 31, 2018.
So where did the “Once in a blue moon,” expression come from? It was the title of an article written by James Hugh Pruett in the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope. Within the article Pruett explains, “Seven times in 19 years there were – and still are – 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.”
The moonrise, — the best time to see the full moon — over Toronto this Hallowe’en is expected to be around 6:25 pm.
Regardless, to have a full blue moon rising for coyotes and werewolves to howl at, just might add a needed shimmer to what is expected to this lacklustre ‘COVIDified’ Hallowe’en night. Ahwoooo!