NEW moons hit our skies about once a month, plunging our nights (or early mornings) into darkness.
With the next full moon due tonight, here’s everything you need to know about the lunar phenomenon.
Rex Features A new moon happens every 29.5 days – when the side of the moon facing the Earth is in total darkness
What is a new moon?
A new moon is when the Sun and moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the moon.
It happens every 29.5 days and means the moon is completely blocked from view.
The monthly phenomenon occurs because the trio’s alignment leaves the side of the moon facing the Earth in total darkness.
The new moon also rises and sets at around the same time as the Sun, bringing it too close to the daytime star’s glare to be visible to the naked eye.
AFP or licensors Its different from a lunar eclipse, pictured, which is when the Earth blocks the moon from sunlight
But we can see the moon again the next day, when a ‘waxing crescent’ is in our skies.
The moon moves in four quarters with peaks called First Quarter, Full Moon, Third Quarter and the New Moon.
What’s the difference between a new moon and a lunar eclipse?
A new moon happens because of our changing view of the moon, which means we’re seeing the side that’s blocked from the Sun.
A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, happens when the Earth gets in the way of sunlight and stops it hitting the moon at all.