Saturday, October 31, 2020

Still Life with Robin: The Halloween Blue Moon/Red Moon/End of DST

Blue Moon by Thrillist
by Peggy Robin

So many ways tonight is special. It's not just Halloween. It's all of the following:

Blue Moon
Red Mars with Blue Moon
Full Moon visible in all US time zones
Hunter's Moon
First Frost
End of Daylight Saving Time 

Let's take them one at a time:

Blue Moon. It was traditionally defined as the third of four full moons in a single season, between the equinox and solstice. These days, the more popular definition is the second full moon in a calendar month -- and this month, we had a full moon on October 2. Tonight's blue moon is even rarer for falling on Halloween. The last time that happened was 76 years ago, October 31, 1944.    

Full Moon Visible Across Many Times Zones. This full moon is even rarer for appearing in all US time zones. It's a Halloween full moon for much of the world -- except for time zones on the other side of the world, where it's November 1.  

Hunter's Moon. The full moons all have traditional names given to them by Native Americans and listed in the Farmer's Almanac. The first one in October is called the Harvest Moon. This one is known as the Hunter's Moon - the time when people must stock up on game for the long winter to come. There are many other names, created by other peoples - learn more about them at - where you will also learn that this moon is a "micro moon" - appearing at a time when it is farthest from the earth. But it won't appear any smaller to the naked eye.   

Red Planet. However, the planet Mars - "the red planet" - is closest at this point in its orbit and will appear larger than usual. So look to the night sky for a Red Mars/Blue Moon combination:   

First Frost. Maybe not in DC but a first frost is expected in the farther flung suburbs. And an hour or so farther west, in the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia, the first snowfall with accumulation may come. So if you're spending your Halloween weekend in a cozy mountain cabin....I hope it has a fireplace!  

The next Halloween night with a full moon? We'll be waiting until October 31, 2077, and if we don't see it, it will be here for the generations after us.  

End of DST. One more thing about tonight: Before you go to sleep, remember to set the clocks back one hour -- if you still have any old fashioned non-computer controlled clocks, that is. I won't repeat my annual rant against the non-energy-saving EDT/DST ritual but will just cite my previous position and I'm sticking with that! 

That time reset is the least of the changes to come - at this point in history! Wishing for better times starting with the first Tuesday in November!

And now a song -- of course it must be this one: 

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Peggy. I love learning more about the moon!