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Did you see the uncommon 'black moon' on Friday? Probably not

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Posted at 10:16 AM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 20:13:57-04

An uncommon lunar occurrence took place Friday night, and it's not 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 was 8:11 p.m. EST, though only the western hemisphere saw the black moon. Those in the eastern hemisphere saw the same new moon, but 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 was difficult to see for a variety of reasons. The new moon itself was completely shrouded in shadow, making it hard to pick out in the night sky. There was 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.

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