30 September 2016 | Black Moon

Black Moon

Image credit: Andre van Zegveld | Click to enlarge

 

Although you are looking at this beautiful image of the moon made by Andre van Zegveld from Belgium, unfortunately today’s moon will be more or less invisible because of the ‘new moon’ phase (referring to the start of a new cycle).

While a full moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight, a new moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. The lunar calendar almost lines up with Earth’s calendar year, so there is typically one full moon and one new moon each month.

There is something unusual about today’s new moon however: it is the second time this month. This phenomenon is called a “Black Moon“, which appears in the sky today for the first time since March 2014. A Black Moon is the opposite of a Blue Moon, the term used when there are two full moons in one month.

The next Black Moon will occur in July 2019.

The Moon is Earth‘s only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter‘s satellite Io).

Read more about the moon on Wikipedia or read these 10 Surprising Lunar Facts.

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