October is officially the month of festivities and this year it will be even more special as we are set to experience a real “once in a blue moon” phenomenon on October 31. Much to the delight of sky watchers, there will be two full moons in October – one on October 1, the other on October 31.
When such a rare phenomenon occurs, i.e., when there are two full moons in one calendar month, the second full moon is called the Blue Moon. This phenomenon is so rare, that it gave birth to the proverbial phase “once in a blue moon”, which is used to denote something that does not occur frequently.
Usually, every month has one full moon and one new moon. However, sometimes, a calendar month gets two full moons. In 2018, there were two Blue Moons – first on January 31, second on March 31. The last time there was a Blue Moon in a month with 30 days was on June 30, 2007, while the next will be seen on September 30, 2050. Meanwhile, the next Blue Moon will be seen on August 31, 2023.
Blue Moons play a significant role in folklores and often find mention in horror stories and fantasies, such as The Smurfs movies. On October 31, the full moon will be visible to all from around 8.19 pm and incidentally, the Blue Moon will coincide with Halloween 2020.One must note here, although we call it the Blue Moon, it does not mean the moon will actually appear blue in the night sky on October 31. In fact, if the moon ever does appear blue to us, it would be because of the dust and smoke particles present in the atmosphere.