On this Halloween, a rare blue moon will coincide with Uranus, which is in opposition, and with a 200 foot wide asteroid approaching Earth.
Occasionally, two full moons will occur in a single calendar month, the second of which is always referred to as the “blue moon”.
This is the case in October 2020, as one full moon appeared on October 1 and another will decorate the sky on Halloween.
A full moon on Halloween occurs approximately every 19 years due to a lunar pattern known as the “Metonic Cycle” according to the peasant calendar. After this period of time, the phases of the moon repeat on the same day of the year.
Thanks to this cycle, the last full moon on Halloween appeared in 2001, and the next one will not appear until 2039.
But according to the Almanac, the full moon has not appeared on Halloween in all time zones in the USA since 1944. Blue moons occur on average every two and a half to three years.
The full moon on Halloween appears “opposite” the sun with the earth directly in between at 10:49 AM ET. At that time it is fully lit – although according to NASA it looks full for most observers from Thursday night to Sunday night.
On October 31, Uranus will also reach the opposition. This means that the Earth will be directly between the Sun and the gas giant.
At that time, the blue-green planet will be at its closest point to Earth, and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun, shining brighter than at any other time of the year. This is the best time to look at the planet, which will be illuminated all night.
Uranus may not be visible to the naked eye as a tiny dot, but for the best view you will need binoculars or a telescope. The planet will be near the constellation of Cetus.
These astronomical events will take place when a large asteroid passes Earth on October 31 at 2:24 UTC or October 30 at 22:24 ET, according to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Study Center.
At that time, the space rock designated 2020 UX3 will approach our planet to within about 3.2 million miles, so it will not pose any danger to us. This corresponds to about 13 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon.
The asteroid is estimated to have a diameter of up to 196 feet and is moving at about 36,000 miles per hour.