Why July’s ‘Black Moon’ is coming at a perfect time

The Weather Authority
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Moon phases mosaic (Image: Getty Images)

July 31st, 2019 North Alabama will experience a black moon – for the first time since 2016. You probably won’t notice it though. A Black Moon is simply what we call a new moon when it’s the second to occur in a month; the first new moon of the month occured on July 2nd. Since a new moon is the opposite phase of a full moon, it isn’t visible in the night sky at all.

It could still make a difference in how the skies look for a few nights though! This black moon is coming at the same time that both the Delta Aquariid and the Perseid meteor showers are active. A full moon creates a bright glow that can wash out meteors, making them difficult to see. A new moon does the opposite: it leaves the sky dark, allowing meteors to show up brighter.

Perseid Meteors (Image: NASA)

The Delta Aquaria meteor shower has already passed its peak, but the Perseid shower is ramping up to its peak which will come in mid-August. By the time the Perseid reaches its peak though, the moon will be full enough to outshine many of the meteors. That means, that you should start watching for meteors now while the skies are darker thanks to the new moon.

You don’t need to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower, just look up! It’s best to try to observe a meteor shower after midnight, but before dawn. Of course, you also want to get away from light pollution as best you can.

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