Science Space What Is a 'Black Moon'? By Michael d'Estries Writer State University of New York at Geneseo Michael d’Estries has been writing about science, culture, space and sustainability since 2005. His writing has appeared on Business Insider, CNN, and Forbes. our editorial process Michael d'Estries Updated June 21, 2020 April's new moon offers the perfect time for amateur astronomers and professionals alike to observe faint objects in the night sky. (Photo: NASA) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy While rare and unusual celestial events are generally a good reminder to get outside and look up into the heavens, the one happening July 31 isn't exactly a showstopper. In fact, good luck seeing anything at all. Tonight, North America will be treated to a "black moon," the rare second occurrence of a new moon in a single calendar month. New moons, or dark moons, are when the side of the moon lit up by the sun is facing away from Earth, making it nearly invisible to the naked eye. These generally happen only once during the moon's 29.5-day lunar cycle around the Earth. Roughly every 2.5 years, however, a single month features two new moons, with the second instance known as a "black moon." The last one was in 2016. To think of it another way, a "black moon" is the opposite of a "blue moon," or the instance of a second full moon in one month. Don't shrug this off just yet Right now, you're probably thinking this is all a terrible bore. But wait! While the black moon lacks the stop-and-stare awe of other lunar events like the blood moon, harvest moon, or super moon, it more than makes up for it by inspiring a host of entertaining crackpot conspiracy theories. Just take a look at this fantastic headline courtesy of the UK Express from 2016: The black moon is more than just a new moon, it's also a destroyer of worlds. (Photo: Express.co.uk) In addition to serving as a sign of the apocalypse, black moons are also interpreted by astrologists as a positive source of energy. "Traditionally, Black Moon’s are ultra feminine and represent a time of great awakening and clarity," writes Tanaaz on the site Forever Conscious. "Black Moon’s are extremely powerful and often indicate a sharp turning point in a cycle." According to pagan witchcraft, black moons increase the power of certain rituals. "New ventures that are blessed and begin on a Black Moon are said to have special energy to succeed," shares the site Springwolf Reflections. "And new relationships should utilize the energy of the Black Moon to plan their future." For those in the Southern Hemisphere and elsewhere in the world wondering when they'll get their own opportunity to celebrate the black moon, you'll get your turn on Aug. 30.