September’s new moon has already come. However, for the first time in over two years, United States residents will have a second new moon in one month to feast their eyes on – that is if they can actually see it.
The new moon already appeared in the sky at the very beginning of the month, but on Friday, a second moon – referred to as a black moon – will settle into the sky for the first time since March 2014, Accuweather reported.
The upcoming lunar event may not be visible to sky watchers because the black moon’s shadow will be facing the Earth. New moons are typically black, because as it passes through Earth’s sky, the moon’s Earth-facing side isn’t illuminated – except in an event of a solar eclipse when the new moon moves between Earth and the sun causing the moon’s black silhouette to light up just as it did during the recent Ring of Fire Eclipse over Africa on Sept. 1.
While astronomy enthusiasts are excited about the rare lunar event, some conspiracy theorists believe the second new moon is a sign of the apocalypse. Certain biblical passages referencing a darkened sun, unilluminated moons and falling stars are thought to be key signs marking the apocalypse, according to Signs of the Times, a site that linked the end of time to interesting sky events with several texts from the bible. Many Christian followers have taken to social media to quote scriptures that hint at the end of time and Jesus’ resurrection, claiming that the black moon on Friday is an indication that the end is near. Scientists, of course, don't back any of this up.
Although two new moons in one month is a rare occurrence in the United States and other parts of the Americas, scientists say black moons typically rise every 32 months in other parts of the world. Friday’s black moon is just the first second new moon to show up in the Americas in quite some time.
The black moon will rise in the Western hemisphere on Friday at exactly 8:11 p.m. Eastern time. In the Eastern hemisphere, the new moon won’t rise until Oct. 1, which means Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia will miss out on the black moon because their new moon will be the first to rise in the month. A second new moon surfaces in the sky at the end of the month around Halloween.