FULL MOONS FOR OCTOBER 2020

OCTOBER BRINGS BOTH THE HARVEST AND HUNTER’S MOONS!

By The Editors September 23, 2020 

Full Harvest Moon - OFA

Colleen Quinnell/The Old Farmer’s Almanac

October has two full Moons this year: the full Harvest Moon on October 1 and the full Hunter’s Moon on the 31st—Halloween! Learn more about these two special full Moons. https://59303dd855b64475ef5fa03c9741a8f1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

WHEN TO SEE OCTOBER’S FULL MOONS

The first of October’s full Moons rises on Thursday, October 1, reaching peak illumination at 5:06 P.M. Eastern Time (it won’t be visible until after sunset, however). October’s second full Moon rises on Halloween—Saturday, October 31—and hits peak illumination at 10:51 A.M. Eastern Time.

Want to know the exact time of moonrise in your location? Check out our Moonrise and Moonset Calculator.

Watch for the Full Harvest Moon

Being full Moons, both of these autumn Moons rise above the horizon around sunset. For several days around the time of the full Harvest Moon, the Moon rises only about 30 minutes later each night. This extra light early in the evening is what makes this time of year special, and traditionally is what gave farmers extra days for harvesting beyond sunset. Hence, the name “Harvest” Moon!

→ Read more about the Harvest Moon here.

As the Moon rises from the horizon around sunset, it may appear larger and more orange—how perfect for the fall season! But don’t be fooled by the “Moon Illusion,” which makes the Moon appear bigger than it really is.

A Spooky Halloween Blue Moon

As stated above, October’s second full Moon lands on Saturday, October 31, making Halloween night extra special this year. Plus, the second full Moon in a single calendar month is often called a “Blue Moon,” giving us a spectacular (and spooky) Halloween Blue Moon! 

Just how rare is a full Moon on Halloween? Find out here!

A buck carrying the full moon in his antlers.
A buck carrying the Moon in his antlers. Credit: Gallinago/Shutterstock.

THE HARVEST, THE HUNTER, AND THE EQUINOX

For decades, the Almanac has referenced the monthly full Moons with names tied to early Native American and Colonial folklore. However, both the Harvest Moon and the Hunter’s Moon are unique in that they are not related to this folklore, nor necessarily tied to a single month. Instead, they relate to an astronomical event: the autumnal equinox!

The Harvest Moon is said to be the full Moon which occurs nearest to the date of the autumnal equinox (September 22, 2020). This means that either September or October’s full Moon may take on the name “Harvest Moon” instead of its traditional name. Similarly, the Hunter’s Moon is the first full Moon to follow the Harvest Moon, meaning that it can occur in either October or November.

This year, both the Harvest Moon (October 1) and Hunter’s Moon (October 31) occur in October.

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