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Fall foliage won’t be the only brilliant reds and oranges Mainers can celebrate this weekend.
The next full moon, due at 5:17 p.m. local time on Sunday, is called a Full Hunter’s Moon. As it rises above the horizon at sunset it could turn brilliant orange. It will appear full for about three days, from Saturday morning to Tuesday morning, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
It may appear larger than normal, but that is an optical illusion, the almanac said. The orange color is caused by light from the moon passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. As the moon rises in the sky, it turns white.
Sunday is the only night in October when the moon will be in the sky all night, visible at sunset and at sunrise the next day.
“Some folks believe that this full moon was called the Full Hunter’s Moon because it signaled the time to go hunting in preparation for winter,” the almanac says. “Since the harvesters had recently reaped the fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters could easily see the fattened deer and other animals that had come out to glean.”
The Hunter’s Moon is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the closest moon to the autumnal equinox.
The almanac first published Native American names for the full moons in the 1930s. The names, including “Travel Moon” and “Dying Grass Moon,” were tied to seasonal activities.
The timing of the Full Hunter’s Moon varies from year to year in October or November, based on when the Harvest Moon occurs.
The 2020 Full Hunter’s Moon is expected to gain a lot of attention because it will rise on Halloween, which happens once every 19 years, according to AccuWeather.
AccuWeather is predicting partial clouds for Sunday evening through Monday morning, so the Hunter’s Moon should be visible.
Other celestial activity this weekend includes a couple meteor showers, including the Orionids, but they likely will be obscured by the bright moon, according to the American Meteor Society.
Mainers throughout the state have planned celebrations to honor the full moon.
A Hunter’s Full Moon in Aries ceremony that promises to connect participants with “good energy and spooky October vibes” is happening Sunday night from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Portland New Church in Portland. Tickets can be purchased in advance. Crystal jewelry and full moon starter kits can be bought at the event.
Also celebrating the spookier aspects of the full moon on Sunday is the Full Hunter’s Moon Ghost Tour in Portland’s Old Port starting in Bell Buoy Park. It runs from 8-12 p.m. and covers a distance of half a mile. The event includes actors and comedians who will transform Maine’s dark history dating from the 1600s into theater and fun. It will feature ghosts, witch trials, Abenaki attacks, pirates and storytelling.
On Tuesday night, when the Full Hunter’s Moon is still visible, the Coastal Mountains Land Trust will hold a full moon hike on the Belfast Rail Trail from 6:15-7:45 p.m.
The hike will be about 1.5 miles round trip and is open to all ages and abilities. The sponsors ask participants to bring a flashlight and a mug for a hot drink that will be provided.
Hikers also will learn some moon songs for the moon rise.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the free event and to be alerted if it is canceled due to inclement weather.