A black moon will rise Friday night, but you aren't going to see it

First we had a supermoon to be on the lookout for, then a blood moon and now a black moon. What's going on?

Yes, Friday night, we've got the seemingly new phenomenon of a black moon to enthrall sky-watchers. But try as you might, this time you can be assured you won't see anything.

Black moon + black sky = invisible.

Similar to a blue moon — the second full moon of a single calendar month — a black moon is the second new moon of the month, according to Space.com.

"The black moon is a somewhat unusual celestial event — they occur about once every 32 months," said Joe Rao of Space.com.

The most recent black moon was in March 2014, according to AccuWeather.

The problem? A new moon is invisible, as the sunlit side of the moon faces away from the Earth, so the side we see is entirely in shadow.

"There really is nothing to see," Rao said.

However, what will happen Friday night is a chance to enjoy the night sky without any glare from the moon.

Remember, also, that this has nothing to do with an eclipse, either lunar or solar. This is strictly part of the monthly cycle of the moon.

The new moon officially occurs at 8:11 p.m. EDT (5:11 p.m. PDT) on Friday.  But it will take a few more nights before you'll start to see the moon as a silver sliver when the crescent moon increases in size, ScienceAlert reports.

For those in the Eastern Hemisphere, particularly Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe, the new moon doesn't occur until after midnight, weather.com says, so it's technically just a regular new moon for that part of the world since it occurs on the first of next month.

A black moon can also be used to describe a month without either a full moon or a new moon, according to Space.com. With only 28 days, February is the only month in which that can occur.

Social media branding is partly to blame for the recent craze of supermoons, blood moons and blue moons, Rao said, thanks to our craving for hashtags and taglines to publicize or share an event.

"Are you ready for yet another lunar 'brand?" he asked. "The newest one is black moon."


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment