The moon takes center stage Saturday night

Saturday night is the 12th annual “International Observe the Moon Night” (InOMN) and the D.C. area is celebrating with 9 different events. International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Solar System Exploration Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with support from many partners.

Lunar observers and lovers of the moon worldwide will be looking at the moon and sponsoring moon-watching events in celebration.

As stated on NASA’s InOMN webpage, the goals of International Observe the Moon Night are to:

  • Unite people across the globe in a celebration of lunar observation, science, and exploration.
  • Provide information, a platform, and resources in order to:
    • Raise awareness of NASA’s lunar science and exploration programs.
    • Empower people to learn more about the Moon and space science and exploration, using Earth’s Moon as an accessible entry point.
    • Facilitate sharing of Moon-inspired stories, images, artwork, and more.
    • Inspire continued observation of the Moon, the sky, and the world around us.

In the DMV this year there are 9 InOMN events being held. NASA Goddard is hosting virtual events, while the National Air and Space Museum’s Haas Public Observatory and George Mason University have live InOMN events. 

The Virtual Telescope Project will be live online at 1:30 p.m. EDT to offer commentary and a view of the moon from Rome.

Also online, at 4 p.m. EDT the Lunar and Planetary Institute will host a live presentation on the “Cool Moon” which will “shed light on the mysterious craters of the lunar south pole that hold water-ice and the key to future exploration of the moon, and of the solar system”.

NASA TV will broadcast from 7:30 to 8:30pm EDT with greetings from people around the world, an ancient Incan story about the moon, a close-up view of the lunar surface as seen through Slooh telescopes in Chile and the Canary Islands, flyovers of lunar features highlighted on this year’s Moon Map and information about NASA’s VIPER mission and Artemis program, which plans to send humans to the moon’s South Pole.

Get out and ponder the Moon…humanity is headed back to stay this time. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is being prepared for the Artemis 1 mission which will launch NASA’s new crewed spacecraft, Orion, out beyond the Moon on a 3-week flight.

Enjoy the fall night by the moon’s beautiful light… By the way, that bright “star” to the upper right of the Moon is Jupiter, with the ringed planet Saturn to Jupiter’s right.

Follow me at Twitter @skyguyinva and my daily blog at www.whatsupthespaceplace.com  to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at skyguyinva@gmail.com. 

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