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This is more moon than we will see on February 18, but this new moon, which is not only a super moon but also a black moon (third in four during a season where three's the norm). Though that's quite a load to carry, it will do so invisibly.

Looming, Invisible New Moon Wreaks Tidal Havoc

ICTMN Staff
2/14/15

If you feel a looming dark presence from above on Wednesday February 18, it is not your imagination.

It is the second of six super moons coming our way this year—and, like the one before and the one after it, this one is a new moon, and thus invisible. But that will not stop it from wreaking more havoc than usual with the tides, among other phenomena.

“Don’t expect to see anything special, not even a little crescent,” says Earthsky.org. “A full moon supermoon is out all night—brighter than your average full moon. But a new moon supermoon is only out during the daytime hours, hidden in the sun’s glare.”

Not only is this month’s super moon new, but it’s also known as the Black Moon, given its status as the third new moon falling between the winter solstice in December and the spring equinox in March, Earthsky.org explains. There are four new moons in all during this season, whereas the norm is three, according to the Weather Channel. Thus, although the moon this week is invisible, the "black" epithet is not related to its absence of reflected light. What makes February’s moon super is its proximity to Earth.

“The moon reaches lunar perigee—the moon’s closest point to Earth for the month—less than eight hours after the moon turns new at 23:47 UTC on February 18,” Earthsky.org says. In fact the February super moon is the second-closest for the year, according to Earthsky.org.

And the convergence of the two phenomena is what sets February’s new moon apart from all the other supermoons, Earthsky.org says. The first one of the year was on January 20, and the second will fall on March 20. The year’s three other super moons will be full.

Meanwhile, Earthsky.org notes, keep an eye on the weather, lest the more pronounced tides of February’s new moon sneak up on you.

“The February 18 extra-close new moon will accentuate the spring tide, giving rise to what’s called a perigean spring tide,” Earthsky.org says. “If you live along an ocean coastline, watch for high tides caused by the February 2015 perigean new moon—or supermoon. It’s likely to follow the date of new moon by a day or so.”

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