Most years have 12 full moons — one every month.
That’s because the moon takes a little under a month, or 29 1/2 days, to complete a cycle from full moon to full moon.
In 2020, however, observant skywatchers will be able to see 13 full moons, two of which will be supermoons.
A supermoon looks slightly larger in the sky because the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest point to Earth.
This year’s supermoons will both occur in the spring — back to back. The first supermoon occurs on March 9, and observers will see the second on on April 7.
Technically, the moon is slightly closer and will appear larger in April, but even the most perceptive observers won’t be able to tell a size difference between the two supermoons.
While back-to-back supermoons may sound impressive, the real rarity occurs in the fall: a blue moon. A blue moon is the second full moon in a single month, and they occur about every 2 1/2 years.
This year, October has two full moons, and the blue moon falls on Halloween — a rare occurrence that won’t happen again until 2039.
The last time we saw a blue moon was March 31, 2018, and the next blue moon after this year won’t happen again until Aug. 31, 2023.
Watch this YouTube video from Storm Shield App to learn more about blue moons:
Did you know the full moons have names? These mostly originate from Native American tribes or, in some cases, medieval Europeans. The dates and names for every full moon in 2020 are:
January 10: Wolf Moon
January’s full moon is named after the howling wolves.
February 9: Snow Moon
February’s full moon is named after the snowy conditions that are typical during the second month of the year.
March 9: Worm Moon
This is the first supermoon of the year, and the March full moon is always referred to as the worm moon because of the earthworms that begin to emerge at the end of winter.
April 7: Pink Moon
This is the second and final supermoon of 2020, and April’s full moon is named for the pink flowers that bloom in early spring.
May 7: Flower Moon
As temperatures continue to warm up and more plants grow, May’s full moon is named after all the flowers that bloom during this month.
June 5: Strawberry Moon
June’s full moon is named for the fruits that begin to ripen this time of year.
July 5: Buck Moon
July’s full moon signifies the new antlers emerging on the heads of whitetail deer during the height of summer.
August 3: Sturgeon Moon
The full moon in August is named after the large number of fish in lakes where Native American tribes fished.
September 2: Corn Moon
The September full moon is typically the Harvest Moon, named for the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. This year, however, that name goes to October’s full moon, an event that only occurs about every three years.
October 1: Harvest Moon/Hunter’s Moon
The first full moon in October has two names. It’s the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, so it’s the Harvest Moon. It’s also the Hunter’s moon because it’s the time of year for hunters to store provisions for the long winter ahead.
October 31: Blue Moon
The second full moon in a month, and it’s happening on Halloween. This rare occurrence only happens every 2 1/2 years.
November 30: Beaver Moon
November’s full moon coincides with the time to set beaver traps before swamps froze, ensuring a steady supply of warm winter furs.
December 29: Cold Moon
Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere, and the cold weather begins.
This year is sure to be a delight all around for skywatchers and fans of the moon!