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2020 features the first global Halloween blue moon since World War II

The events of 2020 were strange enough that some might joke that they would only happen once in a blue moon. But this year will also have one of these: at the end of October, a very rare blue moon will occur – on Halloween. This year, October has two full moons. October 1 or 2 (depending on which time zone you are in) gave us the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, when day and night have the same length. This normally occurs in September, but it arrived in October of this year. Also known as the Corn Full Moon or Barley Moon in parts of America, farmers have traditionally made the most of its light to harvest crops until the night before winter arrives. This year the Harvest Moon was also the Hunter̵

7;s Moon, again named for rural practices, this period of hunting fattened summer animals in the light of the moon, which is brighter and lasts longer in this period of the year. However, 2020’s Harvest Moon is a micro full moon, as it is smaller than usual. The second full moon in a given month is known as the Blue Moon; there are seven every 19 years. The name is a kind of placeholder, given to keep the other full moons of the year in place. This is because the moon completes 12 full cycles of its phase in 354 days, eleven fewer than the full solar year of 365 days. This year’s is particularly unusual as it is the first full moon to occur in all time zones since 1944, although there is a full moon on Halloween somewhere in the world every 19 years which means the next to occur will be in 2039, followed by 2058 and 2077. Some traditions count the third full moon in an astronomical season with four full moons such as the Blue Moon. In any case, the extra moon is a way to reconcile calendars solar and lunar, just like the extra month of Adar II in the Hebrew calendar, which also occurs seven times in a 19-year cycle. In Jerusalem, the harvest moon occurred on October 2 at midnight and five minutes; the Blue Moon will occur on October 31st at 4:49 pm

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