October Full Moon 2020: When is the Hunter’s Moon? What is its name’s meaning?

A rare Full Moon arrives in the skies this Saturday offering an extremely eerie way to celebrate Halloween 2020. And this cosmic occurrence is all the more special as the night of October 31 actually coincides with a Blue Moon.

Astronomy experts estimate such a serendipitous event – with a Blue Moon illuminating Halloween – as taking place approximately once every 19 years.

Every month of the year has its own Full Moon, but October 2020 is a little more special than most.

This because the lunar cycle and the Gregorian calendar do not exactly align.

Full Moons actually occur exactly every 29.5 days – which is when Earth’s natural satellite arrives on the opposite side of our planet.

When this happens, its pockmarked lunar face is totally illuminated by the Sun.

But when a second Full Moon occurs in a single calendar month – as in the case in October 2020 — it is colloquially dubbed a Blue Moon.

To clear-up any confusion, this it completely unrelated to the colour of our celestial orb.

Most of us have likely heard the phrase “once in a Blue Moon,” which is understood by all as something rare and occurring infrequently.

But a Blue Moon coinciding on with the scariest day of the year is all-the-more rarer.

In fact, the last time a Halloween Blue Moon loomed over trick or treaters was in 1944

And the long-running Farmers’ Almanac has confirmed this will not happen again until 2039.

People should be aware that neither of this month’s Full Moons are of the Supermoon variety.

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But as with the Full Harvest Moon that kicked-off October 1, the Halloween Blue Hunter’s Moon may seem a little more orange and ever-so larger as it peeks over the horizon than most other Full Moons.

Experts at the Old Farmer’s Almanac describe this phenomena as a ‘Moon illusion’.

They said in a statement that “when the moon is low, it is viewed in relation to earthly objects, such as chimneys and trees, whose size and shape provide scale.”

The human brain is cable of creating comparisons of the Moon with the scale of the other objects the eye sees.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac adds, “and suddenly, the moon looks massive.”

What is the meaning of the Hunter’s Moon name?

Whatever a Full Moon occurs closest to the autumnal equinox it is commonly called a Harvest Moon.

This is because such a Full Moon traditionally provided light for farmers to harvest their crops before the advent of modern farming technology.

When it is not a Harvest Moon, the October Full Moon — which, this year, is the Halloween Blue Moon — is known as a Hunter’s Moon because the liminal lunar light allowed hunters to ready for winter to see deer and other animals.

The Hunter’s Moon is sometimes referred to as the Sanguine or Blood Moon, most likely because of the blood associated with hunting.

However, another possibly is it could be associated with the brilliant bright colours of autumns falling leaves.

Other names for non-Harvest October Full Moons include the Travel Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.

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