During the Halloween of 2020, the Blue Moon will appear in the sky for the first time after 19 years Credit: Representational image

The often heard proverbial phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ will find its apt depiction in the night sky of October 31 from around 8.19 pm. During the Halloween of 2020, the Blue Moon will appear in the sky for the first time after 19 years.

The last time this dazzling phenomenon occurred was in 2001 and according to NASA, it coincides with Halloween every 19 years. This occurs when there is more than one full moon in a month, hence it’s not exactly blue per se, but will be in full bloom to make things a tad bit spookier on this Halloween.

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If in fact, a Blue Moon does occur (stressing on the actual color is blue), it happens because of the dust and smoke particles that are present in the Earth’s atmosphere. Additionally, these particles need to be wider than 900 nanometers, and only then will it be effective in scattering the red light in the atmosphere. This gives the appearance of the moon is blue.

In a blog post, NASA explains that Blue Moons will occur about every two and a half years. According to them, there are Blue Moons in August 2023, May 2026, and December 2028. However, the next time both a Blue Moon and a Halloween coincide will be in the year 2039.

Meanwhile, the moon is a full one on Halloween after every 19 years, a period which is also known as the Metonic cycle. This full moon aka the Blue Moon comes right after the October 2, harvest moon. Theoretically, it signifies the time that one should start stocking up for the winter.

What is more interesting is that the 2020 Blue Moon will be visible to all time zones, making it even rarer. As the 2001 Blue Moon was visible to only Central and Pacific Time zones.

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