The blue moon is finally here. Saturday’s much-anticipated lunar phase will be the last blue moon until Halloween 2020, so try not to miss this rare spectacle tonight.
The lunar phase began at 8:37 a.m. Eastern on Saturday morning, but those living in the United States will still be able to see the full moon at night, clouds permitting. This blue moon has received a lot of hype because it’s the second blue moon in the calendar year, something that hasn’t happened since 1999. This won’t happen again until 2037, so its rarity is even more magnified.
This uncommon double blue moon — which isn’t actually blue, but the result of a weird naming convention — is also considered a paschal moon, the first full moon before Easter. It’s also been called the “sap moon” by Native American tribes, citing the first full moon of spring as a time to begin tapping maple trees, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. This moon phase is collecting accolades left and right.
To see the infamous double blue/paschal/sap moon on Saturday night at its most optimal time, first use this moonrise and moonset calculator to see exactly when the moon rises in any location. Weather permitting, the moon will be visible in the United States on Saturday night. Although it reached its fullest at 8:37 a.m., it will still offer its signature glow in the early hours of Saturday evening.
For those unable to see the blue moon, Slooh has set up a webcast to feature live views of the blue moon and commentary from astronomers. The online observatory will begin streaming live at starting at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Whether streaming online or simply looking up, the specifics of Saturday’s lunar phase make it an exceptionally rare piece of space history to behold. Don’t forget to take a picture.