On September 18, 2010 amateur astronomers, educators, scientists and the general public will celebrate International Observe the Moon Night by observing and learning more about our nearest neighbor.
It began in 2009 when NASA centers in Maryland and California hosted events to celebrate the successful arrival of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft into lunar orbit. These events provided opportunities for the public to observe the Moon. The overwhelming public response inspired them to do the event again on a much larger scale. Other astronomy organizations have joined in making it an international effort.
So, join in and observe the Moon on September 18th! Look for it in the southeast at sunset. Use binoculars or a telescope if you have them. Try to identify several of the roundish darker regions. These are large impact basins that have been filled by dark lava. When observing through a telescope, the best place to look is near the day-night line, called the terminator. Here, long shadows allow surface details like mountains and craters to stand out.
Don’t have a telescope? The Salt Lake Astronomical Society will host a free public star party (weather permitting) at the Stansbury Park Observation Complex (SPOC) on Saturday September 18. (They will also hold a “sneak preview”, the night before at the Taylorsville Harmons, 5454 S Redwood Road). Both observing sessions run from dusk to 11:00 p.m. Directions to SPOC