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Rare black moon on Wednesday offers exceptional views



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A perigree full moon or supermoon will be seen in Washington on Sunday, August 10, 2014. A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest to Earth (perigee) and at the same time.


NASA / Bill Ingalls

An unusual type of Supermoon is scheduled to hit the stage this week. It's called a "black supermoon," and what sets it apart from other so-called super-monsters is that it's basically invisible.

The term "black moon" is an old nickname for the second new moon in a given calendar month. If you remember your moon phases, you know that a new moon will appear when the sunlight falls on the other side of the moon that we do not see. It is essentially the opposite of a full moon.

The western hemisphere gets a second new moon Wednesday, July 31, just before the calendar changes to August.

The more fascinating it is that this black moon is coming When the moon nears its closest point on its Earth orbit to our planet (the orbit is not a perfect circle). This is called perigey cygny or, more commonly, supermoon.

Usually we talk about supermons when they take place together with the full moon, which can lead to a moon spectacle that seems a bit larger than normal in the sky. However, to actually see this black supermond requires special equipment and extensive experience in observing the sky, but it offers a remarkably dark sky to see other things: what will the moon look like …





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This is especially convenient, as this week two meteor showers are still near their peaks .

So use the black sky and the black moon to see if you catch a shooting star or two or ten, and watch for fireballs that rain meteorites .

Originally published on July 30th.


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