Friday’s rare ‘black moon’ and why you won’t be able to see it

Friday’s sky will feature a phenomenon you don’t see everyday. Including the one it happens on.

(7/20/2010) – James Brosher/AMERICAN-STATESMAN – The Moon is seen from Austin, Texas late on Monday, July 19, 2010.

(7/20/2010) – James Brosher/AMERICAN-STATESMAN – The Moon is seen from Austin, Texas late on Monday, July 19, 2010.

Although the “black moon” set to rise Friday only occurs every 32 months, it’s one of the moon’s subtler shows.

As National Geographic reports, the black moon is defined as a month’s second new moon. Because the moon travels around the Earth in a 29.5-day cycle, most months only have one new moon, the first phase in the lunar cycle. Since our months are a little longer than the phase of the moon, every so often (32 months to be exact) the disjunction means two new moons fall within the same month.

PHOTOS: Blood moon stuns at the Capitol

And why can’t you see a new moon? “Since new moons are in the same part of the sky as the sun, they rise and set with the sun and are overwhelmed by its glare,” National Geographic explains.

If you’re a truly devout sky-watcher, tune in for the non-show tomorrow night. The weather should be just right.

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