Full Hunter’s Moon: A Halloween Spectacle Over The Peninsula 🌕
Boo! Just in time for Halloween, a stunning celestial event is upon us. This weekend, gaze up to witness the dazzling Full Hunter’s Moon that promises to paint the skies. If you’re in the Bay Area, you’re in luck! Clear skies are forecasted, making it a perfect moon-gazing opportunity.
Why is it Called the “Hunter’s Moon”?
The name “Hunter’s Moon” isn’t just catchy—it’s steeped in tradition. Historically, this moon served as a beacon for hunters, illuminating their prey during this pivotal seasonal period. As the cold months approach, game animals hustle, preparing for the chilly days ahead. And this brilliantly lit moon was their spotlight, making it easier for hunters to spot their game.
When to Watch?
Consider any evening this weekend as prime time to be moonstruck! While its zenith is on Saturday, the moon promises to rise around the same time over several nights. And if you’re considering a location, how about the Peninsula? The National Weather Service predicts clear skies, although a sweater or jacket might be in order, with temperatures expected to dip into the mid-40s.
What is the exact time? The moon will be at its brightest at 1:24 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday. But for the best visual treat, aim to look up right around sunset, approximately 6:15 p.m. local time.
A Big, Orange Moon? 🍊
Now, while it’s not technically a supermoon, don’t be surprised if the Full Hunter’s Moon appears unusually large and has an orange tint. This phenomenon is known as the “moon illusion.” As Preston Dyches from NASA elucidates in a post, the moon’s apparent size can be deceptive. To debunk this illusion, Dyches suggests a fun experiment. Look at the moon through a paper tube or even between your legs! You’ll notice the size disparity. Another neat trick? Snap a photo of the moon at the horizon and another when it’s high up. You’ll find it remains consistent in size in both shots.
Interestingly, the moon might seem squashed near the horizon, courtesy of our atmosphere acting somewhat like a lens, causing slight image distortion.
Did You Know?
The term “hunter’s moon” isn’t the only name it’s known by. It’s also referred to as the sanguine or blood moon. This terminology, as per The Old Farmer’s Almanac, might be an ode to the hunting scene or the fiery autumn leaves.
In a twist, the hunter’s moon and its predecessor, the harvest moon, stick to something other than October and September. Their occurrence is tied to the autumnal equinox. The harvest moon is the closest to the fall equinox date, usually in September but sometimes in October. Subsequently, the hunter’s moon can either be in October or even November.