Backyard Observatory

A Rare Full Moon Will Appear on Halloween & It'll Be Near a Bright Red Mars

If you're a werewolf, you probably knew this already.

It's an outstanding month in history to be a werewolf . (At least, a werewolf who enjoys being a werewolf.) Not only are there two full moons in October, the second full moon, called a blue moon , lands right on Halloween

Having a full moon visible in the US on Halloween is rare. It's even less likely to have a situation where it almost swings around the entire world on the spooky holiday. (Even if the day doesn't carry the same significance in every country.) Only Australia and New Zealand will be left out of the fun, according to Bruce McClure of EarthSky, with that night's full moon being the first of two November full moons there. Nonetheless, if you needed any more confirmation that's a creepy, werewolf-friendly moon this year, this full moon, the second of autumn, is often referred to as the hunter's moon. 

If you're worried about missing the Halloween treat, the moon will be visible from just about sunset to sunrise. There will be plenty of time to step out and see the hunter's moon. Though, if you miss it this time, you won't be able to catch a Halloween full moon again until October 31, 2039. 

There's yet another reason the Halloween full moon is unique. You may hear it referred to it as a micro-moon. This is the full moon that occurs the furthest from Earth in 2020, making it the smallest full moon of the year.

Will the moon be blue?

No. The term has nothing to do with the apparent color of the moon. A blue moon—a colloquial and relatively recent term for the second full moon in a calendar month— happens about once every two-and-a-half years (2.7), per NASA. A full moon arrives at 29.53-day intervals, so a full moon must land in the first hours of a given month for a blue moon to occur. Because of that interval, it's possible that February has no full moon at all on occasion, as will happen in 2037, and that leads to two blue moons in a single calendar year.

Everything else you can see in the sky right now

Keep an eye out for bright Mars rising in the east. Like the moon, the red planet will be visible throughout the night.

If you're looking before about 10:25 pm EDT, you'll be able to spot Saturn and Jupiter in the south-southwest sky, hanging out near each other as they have been throughout much of 2020. If you're trying to catch the full moon on the morning of November 1, keep an eye out for Venus, which is only visible in the mornings. The morning star will rise at about 4:32 am, according to In the Sky . It'll be a regular Village Halloween Parade up there on Halloween. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.