'Black moon set to rise tonight in 'rare' lunar event - but what is it?'
Mark Molloy - 'The Telegraph' - September 30, 2016
A 'rare' black moon is set to rise tonight/ Saturday morning– but what exactly is the lunar event and will we be able to see it?
'Black Moon Rising' may sound like the title of an apocalyptic sci-fi film but the astronomical event is unlikely to signal the end of the world, despite the concerns of some doomsayers.
What is a black moon?
From blood moons to strawberry ones and those of the ‘super’ variety, it can be difficult to keep up with all the different names given to the Earth’s natural satellite.
The latest causing excitement among skygazers is the so-called black moon, however there are several definitions about what it actually is.
Most experts agree the term black moon refers to the second new moon in a calendar month.
It shouldn’t be confused with a blue moon, a phenomenon that occurs when there is a second full moon in one calendar month.
Joe Rao from space.com explains: "A second full moon in a single calendar month is sometimes called a blue moon. A black moon is supposedly the flip side of a blue moon; the second new moon in a single calendar month."
The last black moon was in March 2014 and the next one after this year’s is expected in 2019.
Others black moon definitions
Time and Date explains: “Black Moon is not a well-known term in the astronomy world. In recent years, the term has been made popular by astrologers and followers of the Wiccan religion.”
It is also defined as:
1. The 3rd new moon in a season of four new moons
2. A calendar month without a new moon
3. A calendar month without a Full Moon
So what exactly is a new moon?
A new moon occurs every 29.5 days. The moon 'disappears' from the sky when it is between the earth and the sun with it’s illuminated side facing away from us.
The black moon event will take place in the early hours of Saturday morning at 1:11am (GMT) for those in the Western Hemisphere.
The black moon will coincide with Halloween for those in the Eastern hemisphere.
Unfortunately, you won’t actually be able to see it as the moon will appear invisible. It will just be very dark.
Does it mean the end of the world?
Don’t worry, it’s very unlikely the black moon with affect your weekend plans, despite doomsayers predicting it could be the end of humanity.
End of the world: Haven't we been here before?