The Black Moon?

Posted by James Bauman on 9/30/2016
Today the Moon is in its New phase, which means the side of the Moon being illuminated by the Sun is facing away from the Earth and the side of the Moon facing us is completely dark. As a result, we can not see the Moon. Also, during a New Moon the Moon is in our sky during the day, rising at sunrise and setting at sunset.

A Black Moon is a name given to the second New Moon that occurs during a given calendar month or the fourth New Moon that occurs during a given season. Since our calendar month range from 30-31 days, while the cycle of the Moon phases takes only 29.5 days, it is possible to have two New Moons or two Full Moons in a given month. However, because of when the calendar was started in relation to the cycle of the phases, normally we only get one of each in a month or three in a given season.

You may have also heard fo the Blue Moon, which is when the Full Moon does the same thing as we are seeing the New Moon do today.
Still interested? Check out this link for more info:

Dark Matter

Posted by James Bauman on 9/21/2016
What is Dark Matter?
I get this question a lot from students in my classes at the planetarium. Unfortunately the answer is not an easy one. Basically Dark Matter is some form of matter that exists in space, although we can not actually see it. Hence the term "dark". We believe that it is out there because we can see its gravitational effects on other objects in the universe that we can see.
You can find a great explanation here:

The Harvest Moon

Posted by James Bauman on 9/12/2016
You may have noticed the Moon getting a bigger and brighter in the sky during the afternoon and evenings for the past few days. That is because it is currently a Waxing Gibbous as it approaches the Full Moon that will take place this Friday, September 16, 2016. Since this Full Moon occurs closest to the Fall Equinox that will occur next Thursday, September 22, 2016, it is known as the Harvest Moon.

Each year the Full Moon that occurs closest to the Fall(or Autumnal) Equinox is named the Harvest Moon. The name originated from farmers who would use the extra light that this Full Moon provided them to work in their fields later into the evening. This extra time allowed them to harvest their crops and to store the food they would need for the coming cold weather.
To learn more about this year's Harvest Moon click on the following link:
To learn more about other names given to Full Moons click on the following link:

Ring of Fire Eclipse

Posted by James Bauman on 9/1/2016
Today was the final Solar Eclipse of 2016! This was an Annular Eclipse, commonly known as a ring of fire eclipse because the Moon did not completely cover the Sun. Since it was a little farther away from the Earth in its orbit, it left a small ring of the Sun visible as the Moon moved through the eclipse.
For more info and a video replay check out the following links: