Celebrate International Observe the Moon Night with your local astronomy club.


What's Up for October? International Observe the Moon Night!

Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This year's International Observe the Moon Night is on October 20th, when astronomy clubs and science centers invite you to view the moon at their star parties. The 11-day-old waxing gibbous moon rises in the late afternoon and sets before dawn. There are great features to enjoy whether you're observing with the unaided eye, through binoculars or through a telescope.

Sinus Iridum - the Bay of Rainbows - is the little half circle visible near the lunar terminator -- the line between light and dark. The Jura Mountains ring the western edge and catch the morning sun. Mare Imbrium is the large lunar mare (or sea) just south of Sinus Iridum. As the moon approaches full, the large craters Copernicus and Tycho take center stage. Copernicus is 93 kilometers across, and its impact crater rays will be much more visible at full moon, although they are impressive on the 20th. Tycho lies in a field of craters near the south limb. Its massive ray system spans over 1500 kilometers. At 85 kilometers across, it's a little smaller than Copernicus.

On the 20th, you can check off all 6 of the Apollo lunar landing locations, too!

You can still catch the great lineup of bright planets in October, with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars meeting up with the moon again this month. Early birds can catch Venus just before dawn.

You can find out more about International Observe the Moon Night at moon.nasa.gov/observe

And you can catch up on all of NASA's current-and future-missions at www.nasa.gov

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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