Not to be confused with The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, aka, one of the best psychedelic records of all time, a dark moon is currently on course to appear to star-gazers in February 2018. This year has already gotten off to a big bang (sorry, not sorry) with sky show after sky show — super blue blood moon, anyone? — all of which have been awesome reasons to spend the night looking up. And now, you're going to want to know if you can see the February 2018 dark moon, because that's what's coming up next.
It's like the night sky has been restless for years and is now finally treating us with rare event after rare event. Like seriously, it can relax and stop flexing — we get it, we're all fans. It's only a month into the new year, and we've already seen two super moons, a blue moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse. And already lined up for March, we've got two more full moons and a blue moon. And because we saw two full moons in the month of January, you probably thought that February was going to be a pretty dull month — literally. And in one sense, you're right, February is not the host to a full moon. But in another sense, you couldn't be more wrong. It takes the moon 29.53 days to orbit completely around the Earth in a full lunar cycle, but that doesn't mean that the 28-day long month of February is a lunar snooze. For, February is host to a very special non-event, aka, the dark moon — which is also known as the black moon.
Once every 20 years, February comes and goes without ever presenting a full moon. That's because the end of January and/or the beginning of March have them. The last time we had a dark moon, or a black moon, was in 1999. If you're confused by the concept of a dark moon, because it simply sounds like a new moon, that's understandable. Astronomically speaking, the dark moon and the new moon have the same appearance. If you're just looking up at the sky without a telescope or understanding of the difference, likely you wouldn't be able to see the difference. The dark moon gets its name because when it occurs, the it's not at all visible. The light from the sun is completely blocked and the moon appears black, as it's not able to catch any illumination.
A new moon marks the lunar stage in which the moon begins to become visible again, with the slightest crescent sliver that's sometimes hard to see. The moon-less sky period can last for what appears to be three nights, this year it will be Feb, 14, 15, and 16, with the sky going completely dark on Feb. 15.
So yes, the sight to see is really more like a sight you can't see. According to astrologists, the dark moon inspires people to be a bit more adventurous. So see where the night takes you — or if you're worried about getting yourself into trouble, hunker down inside to watch some scary movies you didn't think you can handle — aka, Mother! or something.
And feel free to create your own dark moon rituals and spend the night outside howling to the moonless sky — but remember, you won't see another dark moon for 20 years, so make sure you make it count. It's going to be a dark few nights, though, so you'll need a flashlight if you're adventuring outside. But the good news is, without the light of the moon, you might be able to see certain stars that you couldn't otherwise see because of the glare. So enjoy the special sky, it's your Valentine's Day gift from the stars.