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Skywatch: Enjoy an event you see "once in a blue moon" this week

We'll end the week with the second Full Moon of the month.
Credit: Courtesy: NASA

You may have noticed recently that Mercury has been tough to locate. That’s because it’s getting closer to the sun so our star’s glare washes the planet out. 

On Sunday at about 2 p.m. Mercury will be in inferior conjunction with the sun. That means it’ll line up with the sun as observed from our vantage point. The planet is transitioning to the morning sky in the coming weeks.

Credit: The Moon & Mars

Mars & the Moon will pass by each other by mid to late week. Thursday evening at dusk in the east you should be able to find the pair relatively easily. Just look for the Moon & right above it you’ll find the Red Planet.

Credit: The Full "Blue" Moon

Speaking of the Moon it turns full on Halloween (I know… pretty spooky). At 10:49 a.m. it’s officially full which means it’ll be big & bright if you’re headed out that evening. Because we already had a Full Moon this month this Full Moon has a special name.

It’s called a Blue Moon because that’s what we traditionally call the second Full Moon in a given calendar month. No, the Moon will not appear blue – we just call it a Blue Moon. Blue Moons typically occur once every two to three years hence the term, "Once in a Blue Moon".

Credit: Ghost of the Summer Sun

If you’re out at sunset on Halloween look in the west for Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes the Herdsman. Right around Halloween the star rises & sets at the same time & place along the horizon as the sun in the summer. That is why it’s given the nickname “The Ghost of the Summer Sun”. 

It’s a bright star & you can use the handle of the “Big Dipper” to help you find it. Happy hunting!