'Black Moon' In The Sky Tonight — But What Does It Mean?

night sky
Photo credit (Getty)

(WWJ) You've heard the expression "Once in a Blue Moon" ... But what about a black one?

Mike Narlock, Head of Astronomy at Cranbrook Institute of Science, says metro Detroiters with their eyes to the skies Wednesday night should prepare to see...absolutely nothing! 

"This is one of those events that has a name that really about something you can't see," Narlock told WWJ Newsradio 950.

"While a Blue Moon is the name we give the second Full Moon in a month, a Black Moon is the second New Moon in a month. And a New Moon is when the nighttime side of the Moon faces us, and you don't see those."

The expression "Once in a Blue Moon" is used to describe something that only happens only once in awhile, so Narlock says that would fit the Black Moon, too.

The Black Moon only appears once every three months, he explained.

And while the Moon won't be shining in the sky tonight, Narlock said the Black Moon makes for perfect night to check out the stars. 

"It's a good time to to go out and look at the nighttime sky, because you're not going have the Moon as a secondary source of light brightening things up," Narlock explained. "We have enough problems with the streetlights, so it's a good opportunity to go out and stargaze and look at the planets that are in the sky...and just do some good nighttime observing, because you won't have a bright Moon to contend with." 

Want to learn more about the phases of the Moon? The scientists at NASA explain it all at this link.