There’s something about the full moon in October that is especially mystical.
Many people, including myself, believe that the full moon is responsible for erratic behaviors, psychiatric hospital admissions, suicides, homicides, emergency room calls, traffic accidents, fights at professional hockey games, dog bites, insomnia and all manner of strange events. While men of science may scoff at this belief, most of us have a full moon story or two.
Native Americans called this moon the Hunter’s Moon, which isn’t spooky at all. It was also called the Blood Moon, which is much more satisfying.
The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. The Hunter’s Moon historically served as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.
October’s full moon has a bonus in store for this year.
A penumbral lunar eclipse — so called because only the incomplete outer portion of the Earth’s shadow, or penumbra, falls across the moon — is expected to reach its deepest point at 7:50 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 18.
Unlike total eclipses, in which Earth’s umbra — the central region of its shadow — darkens the moon entirely, a penumbral lunar eclipse involves only a slight dimming. Skywatchers should expect to see a much more subtle sight — with a shadow on the lower half of the full moon — like the eclipse pictured below.
- Penumbral Lunar Eclipse 2013: Earth’s Shadow To Fall On Full Moon On Friday, Oct. 18 (halyardconsulting.com)
- Lunar Eclipse…Sort Of. (penningtonplanetarium.wordpress.com)
- Everything you need to know: Hunter’s Moon 2013 (earthsky.org)
- 5 Sky Events This Week: Partial Lunar Eclipse, Halley’s Shooting Stars (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)