Of all things that you can spot in the sky, the moon is certainly not among the rarest of the celestial lot. Come tomorrow, though, and the moon is going to be more interesting than usual. On Saturday, October 31, we will witness the second full moon of the month – an occurrence that happens only once in a while. To make things even more interesting, it so appears that the second full moon is also our first global full moon in a long, long time – 76 years, to be precise. This means that tomorrow’s full moon shall be visible from almost every part of Earth, although some unfortunate regions will still miss out on it.
While India is not particularly big on Halloween, folklore in the West has even more reason to celebrate – this is the first Halloween full moon in close to eight decades. While typical Halloween folklore has always counted the night of Halloween as one with a full moon up in the skies, it so happens that this depiction is more ingrained in popular culture, rather than the actual appearance of the moon. This year, though, thanks to a rare occurrence of two full moons in the month of October, Halloween celebrations can add on an extra zing.
For space watchers, this will be an extra treat. While you can obviously spot the moon with the naked eye, having a telescope at hand will further allow you to view the moon’s craters even more closely. In recent times, the craters on the moon have played an even more important role. Scientist Casey Honniball’s study of the lunar surface in close quarters, by viewing through the NASA Sofia space observatory, has revealed that the lunar surface has molecular water even in sunlit patches. This is potentially path-breaking, since it alludes to the presence of water on the moon in far greater quantities than what we may have initially estimated.
While space treats are seemingly regular phenomenon now, what with NASA’s exhaustive social media outreach efforts, the second full moon of the month is still in contention for being one of the more interesting celestial events to have happened in recent times. Interested individuals can spot the moon as usual tomorrow, but will have to wait until 2039 to host another month that will have two full moons.