Darn! I stayed up till midnight hoping to see aurora but nothing to report from my house. Any night owls out there do any better? Waiting for a good display of northern lights has been a study in hope and faith this year. I will not go gentle into that good night until I get to see more displays like the ones from the early 1990s. I know many of you feel the same. Patience, patience.
Make a note on your calendar this Saturday night the 18th when sky watchers around the world will celebrate International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). Astronomers Without Borders is partnering with NASA and others to promote enjoyment and study of our closest celestial neighbor. The event builds upon the excitement of the past year’s intense study of the moon with probes like the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). The latter was deliberately crash landed into the moon’s south polar region last October to search for signs of water ice.
Many astronomy clubs will host moon viewing parties on Saturday, including our own local Arrowhead Astronomical Society. If you’ve never seen the moon in a telescope before you’ll be amazed. The view ranks right up there with seeing Saturn for the first time. Mountains, craters, rays of impact debris, long shadows cast by isolated peaks and massive, ancient lava flows are among the many sights that await you. Check with your local club to see if they’re hosting a viewing session.
The moon might just hit your eye like a big pizza pie Saturday.
Here in Duluth, Minn. you’re invited to join me and the members of our local club in Canal Park from 8 until 11 p.m. Saturday. If the sky’s clear to partly cloudy, we’ll be there with telescopes set up for moon and Jupiter viewing. Got a burning question about the moon? We’ll do our best to answer it. Look for us near the Lakewalk by the Duluth Ship Canal next to Bob’s Snack Ship. The moon will be in gibbous phase (2/3 lit) Saturday and well placed for viewing. I hope to see you there. Rumor has it that our club president Eric Norland will sing his rendition of the Dean Martin song “That’s Amore”. Now you can’t miss that, can you?