Get Moonstruck on International Observe the Moon Night

International Observe the Moon Night gathers people together to observe the Moon and to learn more about it. This year InOMN will be on Saturday, October 28th.

Waxing moon

The waxing Moon just before first-quarter phase, as it appears in a small telescope at roughly 40 power.

Haven’t we all looked up, at some point or the other, and been awestruck by our Moon? Sometimes the Moon hangs low in the sky, big and orange, dominating the skyline — you almost feel like you could reach out and touch it. At other times, a thin sliver shimmers high in the dusk on a cold winter evening, and you can see the sharp black shadows caused by ridges.

Well guess what? This Saturday – October 28, 2017 – is International Observe the Moon Night (IOMN)! On this night, events are planned globally to urge people to step outside, take a nice long look or two at our magnificent satellite, and get a kick out of the shared experience.

International Observe the Moon Night debuted in 2010 at the instigation of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission and other NASA institutes dedicated to observing and understanding our Moon. Among these are the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the Planetary Science Institute, NASA SSERVI, NASA’s Discovery & New Frontiers Program, and several others. Science museums, planetariums, and local astronomy clubs all over the world participate in bringing people together on this night.

The idea is to get people inspired by the sight of the Moon and instill a desire to learn more about our closest cosmic neighbor. Which is so easy to do – all you need to do is look up! The wonderful thing about our Moon is that you can see so much detail simply by casting your gaze skyward. With binoculars, you already begin to see startling details of the craters and ridges, and a telescope brings these features into sharp relief.

What if you don’t have binoculars or a telescope? No problem – find one of the organized events near you on Saturday evening. The waxing gibbous Moon is perfect for observing craters, valleys, and ridges, especially near the terminator where you see these features in dramatic chiaroscuro. Or you can turn to Gianluca Masi’s Virtual Telescope Project for a live webcast of telescopic viewing (starting at 17:00 UT on Saturday October 28). Not to be missed!

Another option, if you’ve got your own telescope, is to make your own event. Find a place — even in town, the Moon is bright enough not to be impeded too much by light pollution —  set up your telescope, and eager viewers will be lining up for their share of time at the eyepiece. Don’t forget to submit your events to Sky & Telescope’s Events Calendar!

No matter where you are, whether surrounded by hundreds of other eager observers or alone, or what you have in tow — binoculars, telescope, or only your own eyes — look up on October 28th and prepare to be moonstruck.

Want to keep exploring the Moon? Check out Sky & Telescope’s detailed Moon maps and lunar globes for an intimate look at the both the near- AND farside of the Moon!

6 thoughts on “Get Moonstruck on International Observe the Moon Night

  1. AJames

    Nice coincidence here. A Diana writing about.the Moon.
    As for the lunar promotion, most of us are still trying to figure out a way to remove that pesky Moon entirely from our skies.
    For deep-sky observers today is really a sorrowful night of mourning and lament.
    Still, newbees never fail to be impressed.

  2. Graham-Wolf

    Thank you, Diana, for this timely tribute and reminder of our nearest Celestial neighbour!.

    Lest we “over-remember” lunation wrecking those dark skies needed for faint comet observations… we must thank the Moon for giving us lunar occultations, and the opportunity to show public the landing zones for all those wonderful Apollo missions, at very high power. I’ve proudly done all three…

    Love the Moon or hate it, you have to admit that it’s a good sight even in a CTT (Christmas Trash Telescope)… that over-rated dubious quality 60mm refractor that “promises” Palomar grade 500X+ magnifications, and the ability to see to the edge of the Universe). Yes.. some 6 decades ago, I actually STARTED with one, but had the sense to chuck out the plastic junk eyepieces, put in a decent 18mm Kellner, and on occasion:- a decent 2x Barlow. I was one of a few that perservered in the day. I’ve still got that old “beginner” lying around. The images were NOT Palomar Grade, but they sure licked anything poor old Galileo ever had around to use!

    The Moon is not that much of a curse, really… it has as much right to be out there, as the Sun… and THAT sure bleaches out the faint comets and Deep Sky, far worse than any Full Moon ever could!

    Get out and enjoy the Moon, Galileo did exactly that nearly half a millenia ago. You might end up gasping for joy, just like he did. Sky and Telescope has excellent beginner’s Maps, there’s Ruhkl’s Atlas, Cgharlie Wood’s Website, ALPO, the BAA, and heaps of reliable how-to Youtube vids out there, to help you!

    My fave crater has always been Copernicus, favourite Mare is CRISIUM, and my favourite mountains the Hadley Appenines. Better known those days for my Comet work, but like my hero:- Peter Read…. I actually started out some 6 decades ago, in NZ, as a Lunar Man.

    Regards and best wishes:-
    Graham W. Wolf at 46 South, Dunedin, NZ.

  3. Graham-Wolf

    Hi again.

    Looked up again at the Moon these last 3 consecutive evenings (at 46 South, Dunedin, NZ)… and it was pretty much like the photo at the top of your article, Diana, BUT down here in the antipodes, the image was reversed. Mare Crisium was (of course) on the LEFT limb, not the right.

    Was using a modified 80mm Polarex f5 Terrestrial refractor, with a Kellner eyepiece, giving 20x and 2df. It’s my fave Wide Field Comet scope. In the 12cm f4 Meade GOTO Reflector late afternoon, before dusk at 50x and 100x, the craters were even closer. Hey… look deep into Mare Crisium, and at high power under good seeing conditions, you can actually see Pierce and Lick etc. Check with Ruhkl’s Atlas, just to confirm.

    Who is complaining about the Half Moon (First Quarter, in this case) being up there now?

    I thereafter, simply waited until it set low in the west, just before dawn-onset, then hurredly went about my comet measures for T.A. (UK). A win-win, I’d say!

    Graham W. Wolf at 46 South, Dunedin, New Zealand.

  4. Aqua4U

    Last night I couldn’t resist loading up my van with my 12.5″ Newt. and gear and going up to my star gazing spot in the local mountains to look at the Moon! I recently bought a laser collimator for my home made 12 1/2″ f3.6 Newtonian. It came with basic instructions which were not exactly succinct. It took a while for me to work out exactly how to use it… but once I did.. WOW! (They should include more images of how the laser light is supposed to look after the final alignment) Anyway.. the mirrors were spot on with the cleanest images I have ever seen. I spent hours looking at the colors in the lava flows and determining which flows came first – covered older flows and finding craters while watching the sun rise over the terminator with long illumination angles.. DETAIL is the key word! And Fun!

    In future.. I won’t despair the Moon’s bright light and will instead take in what she has to offer. Hard to do for a deep sky fan? ~@; )

  5. Graham-Wolf

    Good work Aqua4U.
    Well done.

    Used to use the 37cm f21 Cass at ~ 300x and 600x at the R.F. Joyce Observatory, when I was Astronomer-In-Residence in early 1986, there. Can well imagine your mind-blowing experience
    just the other day, with your 12.5 inch.

    That f3.6 is quite a fast primary, I notice….
    Your Moon views would have been even more dramatic with a 3x Barlow, say,
    and let it drift through the FOV.

    A defining moment for you, I dare say.
    Keep it up!

    Graham W. Wolf at 46 South, Dunedin, NZ.

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