Moon women and stargazers alike, get ready to celebrate the next Black Moon happening! Friday, Sept. 30 at 8:11 p.m. ET and 5:11 p.m. PT, the moon will experience a special phase that won't happen again for 32 months — that's almost three years, so you won't want to miss it!
The Black Moon is an occurrence which can only take place when two New Moons grace one calendar month on Earth. For the most part, the lunar calendar and the Earth calendar sync up. Each month, the moon goes through each phase once — it goes from zero visibility with the New Moon, to a sliver of light in a Waxing Crescent, to half lit in the First Quarter, to mostly bright in Waxing Gibbous, to complete light with the Full Moon, and then back down in visibility again with the Waning Gibbous, the Last Quarter and the Waning Crescent. But every 32 months, an exception to that rule takes place when the month receives a double performance by the New Moon phase. Enter: the Black Moon. Dun dun dun!
This dramatic-sounding rare phase title is really just an accurate description of what the event looks like. The Black Moon is, in fact, just that. Caught between the Earth and the Sun, it's entirely dark. So in terms of it being an event, it's really more of a non-event. Right, so like, why do we care about a moon we can't see?
Well, we care for two reasons. One: through certain moments of the night, the alignment of the Earth and the Sun might give the moon a "ring of fire" appearance — the bright illumination coming from behind the dark side will make it look pretty peculiar and interesting. And two: it's a fun excuse to set intentions for the rest of the year and take some time to reflect. A New Moon is a time to let go of negativity and set positive goals and habits for yourself for the upcoming month. So take the time to look for the Black Moon tomorrow night, and if you can't see it (most people will not see it), spend some time realizing things.
If you miss tomorrow night's Black Moon, you'll have to wait until July of 2019 to see it again. If you caught the last one, it was in March of 2014 and went mostly unnoticed. Unlike other moon events, this one is easy to miss. Unless you happen to look up at the exact moment it's standing in halo, you just notice its absence, if anything. Though if you're really looking hard, you might notice that the rest of the sky looks pretty clear. Without the light from the moon, the stars can really shine.