An uncommon lunar occurrence will take place Friday night, and it wouldn’t be surprising if you didn’t even notice it.
Roughly every 32 months, the lunar cycle lines up in a unique way with the Gregorian calendar, and the result is two new moons in one calendar month.
The second shadow-shrouded moon is referred to as a "black moon." It is the opposite of a blue moon, which is the second full moon in one calendar month.
The official time for the new moon will be 8:11 p.m. EST, though only the western hemisphere will see the black moon. Those in the eastern hemisphere will see the same new moon, but it will be after midnight, pushing the time into October. They’ll get their chance to see the black moon on Oct. 30 or 31 after another full lunar cycle is completed.
The moon might be difficult to see for a variety of reasons. The new moon itself is completely shrouded in shadow, making it hard to pick out in the night sky. We'll also see some significant cloud cover and scattered showers towards the end of the week, making it nearly impossible to spot.
If you've ever wondered why it’s called a new moon to begin with, the explanation is quite simple, really: It’s just the start of a new lunar cycle.
And by Saturday or Sunday (if skies can clear out enough), you can more easily spot a small sliver of the moon in the western horizon, just after sunset. This phase of the moon is called a waxing crescent and will prove to be much easier to spot with the naked eye than the elusive black moon.