You Really Don’t Need to Watch the Black Moon Tonight

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Image: NASA Earth Observatory

Have you heard? The Black Moon rises tonight! But if you’re worried about catching this “rare” phenomenon don’t be—it’s actually not that special.

A Black Moon is not an actual astronomy term and there’s a couple different definitions floating around out there. The Black Moon that people are talking about now is defined as when two new moons—the phase of the moon where it appears invisible in Earth’s sky—happen in a single calendar month. This is the first time in over two years that’s happened.

While it’s technically true that it’s rare, it isn’t all that meaningful. The new moon pops up approximately every 29.5 days and September’s cluster of two is no exception. The two new moons in September aren’t really any closer together than any other new moons this year—it’s simply that the first one happened to fall on the very first day of September and the last one on the last day of September. The gap between the two is still practically identical to the gap between the July 4th and August 2nd new moons, or the coming November 29 and December 29 new moons, or any of the other 13 new moons this year.

Getting excited about two new moons popping up together in the month of September is a little like telling everyone to celebrate your birthday extra hard this year because it won’t fall on a Tuesday again for another two years. It’s not factually wrong that it’s rare, exactly, it’s just a very weird and not very meaningful coincidence of the calendar to get excited about.

Does that mean you shouldn’t bother to look up tonight? Not quite, a new moon is always a good opportunity to see the sky at its darkest without moonlight drowning out any constellations or planets you may want to catch a glimpse of. But, if you do happen to miss it or the sky is covered in clouds, don’t fret. The exact same opportunity will pop-up again literally about every 30 days, over and over and over again.

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The miniature Nintendo that Japan’s getting is way cooler than the US one

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All the way back in July, Nintendo tickled the nostalgia of
Nintendo fans by announcing
a miniature, $60 version of its original console
. The NES
Classic Edition has 30 built-in classic games, and you’ll be able
to get it on November 10.

If you live in Japan, however, it’s a bit of a different story.
In its home country, the NES was known as the Famicom (short for
“family computer”), and it had a different design. The
controllers were actually hard-wired to the console, so you
placed them in little cradles on the side of the console when you
were done playing.

Basically, the Famicom is rad.

Accordingly, Nintendo has announced the Japanese version of the
NES Classic Edition called the Mini-Famicom. Here’s how it looks:


mini famicom
Look at that thing! It’s
adorable!

Nintendo

It sounds like it’s the same basic deal: For ¥5,980 (roughly $60
USD), you get 30 built-in Famicom games, two controllers, and the
system itself, which connects to modern TVs via HDMI. It
looks like it recreates the basic design of the Famicom in a
smaller form factor, which means the bolted-on controllers are
probably smaller as a result. 

The game library is largely the same
as it is in the U.S.
, with a few exceptions. For example, the
American football classic “Tecmo Bowl” has been replaced by
“Tsuppari Oozumou,” a sumo wrestling game.

It connects via HDMI just like the western version, so you can
almost certainly just import one and play it if you so desire.
The games will obviously all be in Japanese, but if you care
about importing something from Japan, I assume you understand
what you’re getting into.

Overall, though, this thing is way cooler than the one we’re
getting. The cradles for the controllers, the color scheme, and
the big “Family Computer” logo on the front all contribute to an
amazing console design that I think wins out over the western
NES. 

The Mini-Famicom comes out in Japan on November 10. Here’s the
trailer for it:

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