Rare Shadowy Phenomenon Known As “Black Moon” To Appear Friday

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

On Friday a relatively rare lunar event will take place – a shadowy phenomenon known as the “black moon.” Yes, it sounds apocalyptic, but a “black moon” is nothing bad.

And while it will rise above the Western Hemisphere, there won’t really be anything to see.

What is it? A “black moon” is simply a spooky nickname for the second new moon to fall in a calendar month. A “black moon” occurs about once every 32 months.

While a full moon happens when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by the sun, a new moon is when the side we see is fully covered in shadow. As a result, the new moon is basically invisible to Earthlings looking up at the sky, Space.com explains.

This “black moon” officially occurs at 8:11 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, 2016.

For those in the Eastern Hemisphere, it will already be after midnight on Oct. 1. To make things a little complicated, since it won’t be the second new moon in a calendar month on that side of the globe, it doesn’t qualify as a “black moon” there. However, the Eastern Hemisphere will get one at the end of October.

The appearance of a crescent moon a few days after this new moon will usher in the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, beginning Sunday evening Oct. 2, and the Islamic New Year, Muharram, on Monday, Oct. 3 – two holidays guided by the lunar calendar.