Have you ever wondered what may be the purpose of the moon? Well, the moon is the shiny beacon that lights up the night as the sun lights up the day. This amber body is quite shy and doesn't always show itself, but when it does, the moon's brilliance overpowers the darkness. The surface of the moon inspires astronomers around the globe who religiously watch as our incandescent orb passes serenely through its natural cycle, but if you are an avid planet observer you will come to realize that the reflecting light from the moon through the telescope lens may interfere with your ability to clearly view even our closest planets. For this reason many planet watches believe the new moon cycle is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of another world.
What is a New Moon?
The moon goes through different phases, in fact there are eight different phases all told with the new moon being the first phase (No, there is no 'old' moon phase). When the sun and the moon have an equal ecliptic longitude it appears that the moon just 'disappears'. This is because during the new moon phase the moon is on the same side of the Earth as the Sun, causing the dark side of the moon to face our planet. More accurately, during the new moon phase it's hidden behind the sun from sunrise to sunset giving us the impression that it has disappeared.
This cycle has been appropriately named the 'dark moon'.
The cycle from one dark moon to the next is called a lunation and an average lunation calculates at about 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds (roughly) To be fair, it does deviate in relation to the moons erratic orbit patterns and is affected by the gravity conflict between the sun and the moon.
What is the difference between a Lunar Eclipse and New Moon?
They seem quite similar and there is often confusion between the two. A lunar eclipse happens twice a year whereas a new moon happens once a month. Here is further clarification:
A Lunar Eclipse is when our blue/green globe saunters between the trusty moon and glowing sun, our planet completely blocks the luminous rays of the sun but the moon remains visible.
A New Moon is when the moon takes its monthly promenade and reaches the phase where it comes to rest between the sun and Earth, in this position the moon's dark side is facing us making it seem 'invisible'.
The night sky is a bottomless pit of darkness sprinkled generously with twinkling stars and during the new moon phase, which will take place on 16th June 2015, their will be no moon visible. This is the perfect time to dust off your telescope and indulge in an opportunity to properly study the stars without the interference of moonlight dampening your space 'exploration'. If you do not have a telescope then check out some telescope reviews and find a worthy telescope for sale... You will be glad you did.
So mark your calendar for the 16th June 2015 This is an awesome event itself but on this night you will have an amazing chance to view our celestial neighbors.