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Black super moon: Why you should still look up, even though you can’t see it

Black super moon: Why you should still look up, even though you can’t see it
[Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA]

Crank up the Bauhaus, and put on your finest black velvet cape, because tonight, the most goth moon imaginable is coming to the night sky.

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If you live in the Western Hemisphere, a rare black super moon will be floating in space this evening. Making the black super moon even more mysterious, it will be nearly invisible in the night sky. Hey moon, aren’t you little old for a full-blown goth phase?

While blue moons, the second full moon in a calendar month, are a fairly well-known phenomenon thanks to that catchy song, black moons are the black sheep of the lunar family. They are the more rare, second new moon in a calendar month, when the side of the moon facing the Earth is fully in shadow (see? Totally goth).

Black moons take place roughly every 32 months or so, but just because they are taking place doesn’t mean everyone can see them. They sometimes only occur in particular time zones, Space.com noted, making them a fleeting and elusive phenomenon. A black moon can also be in a month when there are no new moons at all, CNN reported, but that is only possible in February because it only has 28 days.

Tonight’s black moon is particularly rare, though, because it is also a super moon, meaning that it will look larger than usual. However, because this is a black super moon, skywatchers won’t be able to see a bright lunar view but instead will just see something dark, lurking in the night sky. While the moon won’t give much of a view, the black backdrop should provide excellent viewing of other things skulking in the night. As CNET points out, that includes two meteor showers that are nearing their peaks.

If you live in the Western Hemisphere, go ahead and get goth tonight (Wednesday, July 31) when the new black super moon lurks in the shadows, starting at 11:13 p.m. EDT.

Eastern Hemisphere residents can stay in and watch What We Do in the Shadows or some other dark material tonight, as they still have time to plan their black moon-viewing parties. The black moon will arrive for them on August 29 or 30 depending on time zone. Watch while you can, because the next black moon won’t arrive until April 30, 2022.

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