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01 October 2020 08:49

October October

This year, space fans may have seen July's full moon turn a shade darker than usual, as the third penumbral lunar eclipse of 2020 took place. Tribes in North America typically caught Sturgeon around this time, but it is also when grain and corn were gathered so is sometimes referred to as Grain Moon. This full moon appears in the same month as the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 12 and 13. This year, a black moon (the third new moon in a season of four new moons), will also take place on August 19. A total lunar eclipse, otherwise known as a 'blood moon', occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow.

In total the celestial spectacle - which was also a full moon and a supermoon - lasted five hours, 11 minutes and 33 seconds, with its maximum totality peaking at 5:12am. While the next total lunar eclipse is not set to take place in the UK until May 16, 2022, three prenumbral lunar eclipses occurred this year on January 10, June 5 and July 5. This type of eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through the outer part of the Earth's shadow, also known as the penumbra, causing a slight darkening of the lunar surface. A monthly blue moon is the name given to a second full moon that occurs in a single calendar month and this typically occurs only once every two to three years. New moon: Sometimes known as the invisible phase, as it generally can't be seen in the sky.

Black moon: Most experts agree that this refers to the second new moon in a calendar month, while some use the term to describe the third new moon in a season of four new moons. Blood moon: Also known as a total lunar eclipse. It's when the shadow of Earth casts a reddish glow on the moon, the result of a rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. Space fans in the UK won't be able to see every phase of this eclipse, but should be able to see it at totality when the Moon appears with a reddish-orange glow. Ever looked up at the night sky to see a full moon so close you could almost touch it?

Skywatchers, get ready: There will be two full moons in October, and the first one will illuminate the sky tomorrow night. What's more, the Full Harvest Moon is not the only celestial sight to look forward to because Mars will also be visible nearby. Unlike other full moons, the Full Harvest Moon doesn't correspond to a specific month. Rather, it's what we call the closest full moon to the autumn equinox, which occurred on Sept. Usually, the Full Harvest Moon occurs in September, but this year it lands in October.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, throughout the year, the moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each day, "but near the autumnal equinox, the difference is only 30 minutes." That means there's much more moonlight in the early evening. While this year's Full Harvest Moon will be the second smallest full moon of the year, it'll look bigger, brighter, and more orange than most full moons if you spot it shortly after the sun sets, according to EarthSky. After sunset, the Full Harvest Moon will be near the horizon, which will make it appear larger thanks to moon illusion. The Full Harvest Moon rises on Thursday, October 1, and it'll reach peak illumination at 5:05 p.m. EDT, according to the Farmer's Almanac. This year's Harvest Moon is happening on October 1 (Credits: Getty Images) This year, the Harvest Moon is taking place in October, rather than September because of the way the full moons occur this year. Traditionally, the Harvest Moon is the name given to the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. With the equinox falling on September 22 this year, the closest full moon (and therefore the Harvest Moon) occurs tomorrow on October 1. Which is why the full moon that took place back on September 2 was given the name Corn Moon. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon always takes place in March or early April. When is the best time to see the Harvest Moon? The exact time of the full Harvest Moon this year is at 21.05 on Thursday, October 1. However, you will also get a spectacular looking moon on the nights either side of October 1. 'Nature is particularly cooperative in giving us full-looking moons near the horizon after sunset, for several evenings in a row, around the time of the Harvest Moon.' You'll be able to see the Harvest Moon for a few nights this week (Credits: Andrew Fusek Peters / SWNS) The moon will be visible soon after sunset, but for the best view of it we'd recommend waiting until later in the night when the last vestiges of sunlight have faded and you're left with a spectacularly bright full moon. At the beginning of the night, the moon will appear near the horizon. October 2020 is also a 'Blue Moon' month with two full moons. The second, a so-called 'Blue Moon,' occurs on October 31st. In recent years, people have been using the name Blue Moon for the second of two full moons in a single calendar month The Harvest Moon indicates the time of year farmers bring the crop in for the autumn (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) The Harvest Moon is actually an old European name with the Oxford English Dictionary giving 1706 as the year of its first published use. Most years the Harvest Moon falls in September but this is one of the years it falls in October. October's second, and considerably less spooky, PlayStation Plus offering is Need for Speed: Payback, a game that Eurogamer's Martin Robinson labelled a "grossly unremarkable open world racer that marks another step back for the series" when it launched in 2017. Perhaps not a golden month for PlayStation Plus then, but should your interest be piqued, both games will be available from Tuesday, 6th October, until Monday, 2nd November.