Black Moon Is Coming on July 31: What Is It and Why Is It the Best Time for Stargazing

By Li Yen, Epoch Times
July 31, 2019 Updated: August 1, 2019

Perhaps you have come across the blue moon, blood moon, super worm moon, and strawberry moon … but have you ever heard of the black moon? If you have never heard of it, tonight, July 31—for those living in America—is the day you can gaze up at Earth’s natural satellite to catch a glimpse of the rare black moon.

As scary as it may sound, when the seemingly ominous black moon appears, the night sky will be completely dark. Why? It’s dark because unlike other supermoons, the black moon will blend in with the dark sky, causing it to be basically invisible to the naked eye. Envision yourself under a moonless night sky…

The black moon usually occurs around once every 32 months and only in particular time zones, Space.com reported.

Three years after its last appearance on Sept. 30, 2016, this rare celestial event is going to take place in North America again on July 31 at 11:13 p.m. For people living on the other side of the planet (Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe), they can see the black moon after midnight on Aug. 1.

The next black moon will appear on Aug. 30 in all parts of the world excluding the U.S. West Coast. It will arrive on Aug. 29 at 11:37 p.m. in the U.S. West Coast. If you miss both rare celestial events, you have to wait till April 30, 2022, for the next black moon.

So, what is a black moon exactly? It has numerous definitions, according to Time and Date. In spite of its rather spooky name, the black moon is most commonly used to refer to the second new Moon in the same month.

“It can be the third New Moon in an astronomical season with four New Moons or the second New Moon in the same calendar month,” as stated on Time and Date website.

A black moon also refers to a month when there are no new moons—it can only occur in February due to its fewer days. This type of black moon happens about once every 19 years.

To put it simply, the western hemisphere is getting a second new moon on July 31.

This black Moon will also be a supermoon as it coincides at the closest point to Earth in its elliptic orbit, which results in a particularly large moon as viewed from Earth.

“During the new Moon phase, the Moon is not illuminated by the Sun and seems to disappear from the night sky. A new Moon is practically invisible to the naked eye, so there’s nothing to see during a so-called Black Moon,” the Farmer’s Almanac writes.

Though you can’t really see the “black super new moon,” the incredibly dark skies make it the perfect stage for stargazing. You can spot the twinkling of stars in the extra-dark night sky more clearly. Furthermore, two meteor showers—the Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids— are currently still near their peaks this week, as per CNET.

Late summer is one of the best times to view our Milky Way. It’s the simple pleasures—to put your feet up and gaze up at the stars above on a warm summer night.

So, if stargazing is your favorite pastime, be sure to catch this lunar spectacle with someone special tonight.

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