'Black Moon' to Block the Sun in 2022's First Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse is due to be seen in some parts of the world on April 30, coinciding with what's known as a Black Moon.

The moon will block out some of the sun during that day just before and during sunset, causing the partial eclipse. It will only be visible in certain parts of South America where there are clear skies.

The eclipse should be visible from Chile, Argentina, most of Uruguay, western Paraguay, southwestern Bolivia, southeastern Peru, and a small area of southwestern Brazil, according to NASA. It may also be seen along parts of Antarctica's northwestern coastline and in the Falkland Islands.

The eclipse will coincide with what's known as a new moon, which is when the moon and the sun are aligned in such a way that the sun only illuminates the part of the moon that is not facing us. It also rises and sets when the sun does and travels across the sky with it during the day.

New Moon

In other words, a new moon is when the moon appears invisible to us here on Earth—except during a solar eclipse.

New moons are nothing unusual; they occur around once a month. However, this particular new moon is the second new moon to occur in April after the first one took place on April 1.

The name for the second new moon in one month is a Black Moon, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac—a relatively rare phenomenon that takes place once every couple of years or so—though this is not an astronomical term and its definition can vary widely.

One definition is that it's the second new moon in a month, but the term Black Moon may also refer to occasions when there are no new moons in a month and, confusingly, may also refer to every new moon since we only see the moon's dark side during these times, The Old Farmer's Almanac states. A Black Moon may also be the third new moon if there are four in a season.

In any case, those who will be able to see this month's partial solar eclipse should exercise caution since it is never safe to look at the sun directly without special tools, even if it is partly obscured. Solar viewing or eclipse glasses can be used for this, which are not the same as regular sunglasses. Regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the sun.

The next solar eclipse in 2022 is due to take place on October 25 and it will be another partial one. The next lunar eclipse, which will be total, will take place between May 15 and May 16 and should be visible from North America.

Partial solar eclipse
A file photo shows a partial solar eclipse taking place in 2013. A partial solar eclipse will be visible in some parts of the world at the end of this month. It is not safe to look at solar eclipses without special equipment. underworld111/Getty