A Full Moon On Friday The 13th: ‘Once In A Blue Moon’

September 12, 2019
Harvest moon rises over Colorado prairieHarvest moon rises over Colorado prairieDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press
The harvest moon rises over the Colorado prairie framed by the engines of a Royal Air Force cargo plane parked at a general aviation terminal at Denver International Airport in east Denver on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Friday night is going to be extra creepy-crawly. Not only is it Friday the 13th but there will also be a big full moon in the sky.

So cross your fingers, beware of black cats crossing your path and throw some salt over your shoulder. 

The last time a full moon happened on Friday the 13th was on June 13, 2014, said Paul Hayne, an assistant professor in the Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

“You might say it only happens once in a blue moon,” he said. “This particular full moon is unique in the sense that it both falls on Friday the 13th and it's also the Harvest Moon.”

A Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the fall equinox, when our days start to get shorter than our nights. The fall equinox is on Sept. 23. 

The last time a Harvest Moon happened on Friday the 13th was on October 13, 2000. The next time a full moon will happen on the superstitious day will be in August 2049. 

“The moon should rise just around sunset and that's just because the moon is positioned exactly 180 degrees away from the sun,” Hayne said. “If you want to see this Harvest Moon fully up in the sky in all its glory, then you'd want to look around midnight.” 

Fulfill All Your Superstitious Thrills

In the spirit, as it were, of the occasion, we thought we'd resurrect some of our most superstitious stories and interviews.

Earlier this year, arts reporter Stephanie Wolf met a Denver printmaker who designed her own tarot cards. Historians say the cards were initially used to play games and then evolved to hold mystical significance.

Emi Brady’s deck of Tarot Cards features 78 hand-colored linocuts.

The Colonial era shaped American horror and superstition with times of stifling religion and the dark and uncertain New World. Just before Halloween a few years ago, CPR’s Ryan Warner interviewed Graeme Davis, author of “Colonial Horrors: Sleepy Hollow and Beyond.”

CPR’s audio editor Michael Hughes visited the Reinke brothers in 2018. They have had one of the longest-running haunted houses in the country and delivered some spooky thrills and chills. The Reinke’s like to use fun scare tactics that rely on illusions and animatronics.

If you haven't run for the door, this witch at the Reinke Bros' Haunted Mansion may be able to tell your fortune.

CPR’s Ryan Warner talked with a professor of medieval history at the CU Boulder, who put himself through college as a gravedigger. He said he didn’t meet any ghosts when he worked at the cemetery, but he believes in ghosts and wrote a book them and zombies called "The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters."

If you're not superstitious (maybe only a little stitious), a team of a dozen CU students is designing a mission to the moon for 500 Post-it note-sized spacecraft. CPR’s Natalia Navarro reports the spacecraft will collect data from across the moon’s surface.

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