On this fateful Halloween night (Saturday, Oct. 31), the stars will align to present us with a fittingly spooky full moon — and a "blue moon" at that.
Cleveland's weather forecast for the big day appears to boast partly clear skies, ideal conditions for admiring (or howling at, dancing beneath, etc.) the unique lunar phase. But don't expect a blue hue when you gaze up at the sky; the "blue moon" phrasing is more of a distinction, and less of a comment on the actual color. However, you can appreciate the rarity of the phenomenon.
"For more than half a century, whenever two full Moons appear in a single month (which happens on average every 2 1/2 to 3 years), the second full Moon is christened a 'Blue Moon,' " according to Farmer's Almanac.
"When you look at the full Moon on Halloween night, it won’t appear blue in color but you’ll be looking at something pretty uncommon. A full Moon on Halloween occurs roughly once every 19 years."
Because of assorted Leap Years and the moon's orbit, this 19-year cycle has been off a day since 1944 — the last time there was a full moon on Halloween. After that, the full moon shifted to Nov. 1...until this year.
According to the Farmer's Almanac, the next time we'll see a 100%-illuminated full moon on Halloween is in 2039 — then 2058, 2077 and 2096 — returning to the normal 19-year cycle.
For more info about the Halloween Rare Blue Moon, visit Farmer's Almanac, or watch this insightful video about the moon, in general, provided by the Cincinnati Observatory below.