You’ve heard of a blood moon or a harvest moon, maybe even a supermoon. But what about a black moon? Tonight, people living in the Western Hemisphere has the chance to experience a black moon…but they won’t be able to see much.
As explained by Space.com and NASA, a black moon is the second new moon in one month. It’s kind of like the opposite of a blue moon, which is when there’s a second full moon in a month. Typically there is a single new moon and a single full moon in a month, so when a second comes along, some take notice.
Unfortunately the black moon isn’t as exciting as an eclipse or meteor shower. Humans gazing at the night sky won’t be able to see much of the black moon. The side of the moon that will be facing Earth will be dark, so the black moon will be “more or less invisible,” according to Space.com.
What’s the fuss? A British tabloid and some Twitter users suggested the black moon could signal the end of the world. However, it’s not even a particularly rare phenomenon; the last black moon occurred in March 2014, and there will be another in 2019. NASA says there is “nothing mysterious” and “nothing supernatural” about the black moon.
Only those in the Western Hemisphere will experience the black moon tonight at 8:11 PM Eastern Time or 5:11 PM Pacific Time. As it will happen after midnight in the Eastern Hemisphere, it won’t count as a black moon for those in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Australia – it will simply be their first new moon. Eastern Hemisphere dwellers will get a black moon, though, on October 30 for most and October 31 for Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and eastern Asia.