Categories: AstrophotosMoon

Astrophotos: The February 2015 ‘Black’ Moon

As our David Dickinson noted in his recent article, a new term is “creeping into the popular astronomical vernacular: that of a ‘Black Moon’.” This is the New Moon version of a Blue Moon, and is either:

  1. A month missing a Full or New Moon… this can only occur in February, as the lunar synodic period from like phase to phase is 29.5 days long. This last occurred in 2014 and will next occur in 2018.
  2. The second New Moon in a month with two. This can happen in any calendar month except February.
  3. And now for the most convoluted definition: the third New Moon in an astronomical season with four.

The February 18th New Moon met the requirements expressed in rule 3. The fourth New Moon of the season falls on March 20th, just 13 hours before the northward equinox on the same date.

But no matter what the occasion, there are always astrophotographers out to grab pictures, and here are some shared with Universe Today via email and on our Flickr page.

The sliver of the February 2015 new ‘black’ Moon. Credit and copyright: Héctor Barrios.
The less than 24-hour old Moon on February 19, 2015, as seen from Toronto, Canada. Credit and copyright: Michael Watson.
The Moon, Mars and Venus. Credit and copyright: Neil Ghosh.

And remember, tonight you can see a close conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Mars. Here’s how you can photograph the event, and make sure to share your photos with Universe Today!

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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