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article imageRare lunar event — 'Black Moon' to grace the night sky on Friday

By Karen Graham     Sep 27, 2016 in Science
We are in for a treat, sort of, at the end of this month when a second new moon will rise. It's a relatively rare lunar event and will take place Friday night with the rising of the "Black Moon." The last time this occurred was in March 2014.
As Space.com says, don't get too excited because there won't be that much to see if you're looking for an Earth-shattering event, but it's still sort of cool to just known about this lunar event, right? After all, it only occurs once every 32 months.
A few technical terms will help in understanding what the Black Moon really is all about in the lunar cycle. A full moon refers to the moment when the moon's Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight, and a full moon really brightens up the night sky.
A new moon, on the other hand, refers to the moment when the moon's Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. This means that sad to say, the Black Moon, being a new moon, will be almost invisible, even when it is high in the night sky.
Lunar Synodic Cycle
Lunar Synodic Cycle
UNI/Astronomy
So what is a new moon? Actually, it's the beginning of a new lunar cycle, and the time frame, 29.53 days, is called a synodic month, a period of the moon's phases. Synodic is from the Greek word sunodikos, meaning "meeting." So the synodic cycle is when the moon meets the sun.
And while there may be several definitions when referring to the Black Moon, basically, it is the second new moon to occur within the same month. This is not to be confused with a "Blue Moon," the second full moon occurring within the same month.
To add even more confusion to the story, while people in the Americas will experience the Black Moon at the end of September, it won't be the case for people living in other parts of the world. "It's the second new moon this month in all of the Americas, but not in Europe and points east from there," said Bob Berman, an astronomer for Slooh who was quoted by Accuweather.
It's not a huge difference, but in the Western Hemisphere, the Black Moon will rise at 8:11 p.m. EDT on Sept. 30, and for countries in the Eastern Hemisphere, the Black Moon will rise on October 1, making it the first new moon for October in that part of the world.
A  Blue Moon  or second full moon for the month of July is seen next to the dome of the Capitol in W...
A "Blue Moon" or second full moon for the month of July is seen next to the dome of the Capitol in Washington D.C.
NASA
But Berman says people in the Eastern Hemisphere will be given a treat because a second new moon (or Black moon) will occur at the end of October in that region of the world right around Halloween.
Let's hope we haven't lost anyone yet, but here's another little tidbit about Black Moons. There is another type of Black Moon that occurs when there are no new moons in a calendar month. These can occur only in February and happen about once every five to 10 years, says Berman.
"The phrase could also mean the third new moon when there are four in a season, which is actually also one of the definitions of a Blue Moon when the same thing happens to a full moon," Berman added.
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