This Saturday, celebrate International Moon Observation Night with NASA!


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The history of the Moon is deeply linked to the history of our own planet. We literally share space with it, and everything we learn about the Moon helps us better understand Earth and our place in the solar system. And many of us have a deeply personal connection to the Moon, says Andrea Jones, director of International Moon Observation Night.

“Whenever we have an event, one of my favorite questions to ask is, ‘What’s your favorite memory with the Moon in it? Everyone I’ve asked has an answer,” she says.

Together to celebrate the moon

The idea for International Observe the Moon Night dates back to 2009, says Jones, who is also public engagement manager for the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. That year, NASA launched two sister missions to the Moon: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). To celebrate, NASA Goddard and NASA Ames hosted events to commemorate the arrival of these spacecraft on the Moon.

“People were so excited about the events, way beyond any expectation of what we thought people would be interested in,” Jones said. “Our teams were like, we have to do this again.”

The following year, NASA teams planned to hold a nationwide moon viewing night. But it quickly became clear – especially after conversations with global astronomy organization Astronomers Without Borders – that the event should be global. Thus, the very first International Observe the Moon Night was born in 2010.

“Essentially, it’s a day every year that we invite people to observe the Moon, learn more about the Moon, and celebrate our personal and cultural connections to the Moon,” says Jones. “That’s been the case since day one, and it continues today.”

Last year, 500,000 people participated from 50 states and more than 120 countries, spanning all seven continents. The event saw over 1,600 events, ranging from private single-family events to public events hosting tens of thousands of people.

“The event has grown from something very small to something huge, but it still has the same heart,” Jones says. “It’s in communities and in people’s lives, like we always wanted.”

The Moon is very personal to many people, says Andrea Jones, director of International Observe the Moon Night. Ask anyone for a favorite memory with the Moon in it, and everyone will have an answer. (Credit: NASA)

How to get involved

Participating in International Observe the Moon Night is different for everyone. People are organizing events all over the world in honor of the Moon, both in person and virtual, public and private, large and small. Astronomy organizations, libraries, schools and many more around the world organize events such as sky observation evenings, presentations by scientists, programs to learn more about the Moon and others fun events.

To get involved, you could science research near me to see if someone is hosting a public event near you. Or you can host your own event, even if it’s just a small gathering of friends, neighbors or even family! You can register your event at open to the public, private or even as an individual observer.

“Even if you don’t want to organize an event per se, you can say, I’m here, I observe the Moon, I’m on the map, I observe with everyonesays Jones.

The NASA Moon website has tips for hosting an event, whether you are a teacher, librarian, troop leader or simply someone who wants to organize an event in their community. “You don’t need telescopes or binoculars or scientific expertise to host an event,” says Jones. “We want people to enjoy this event and make it their own.”

The easiest way to organize a last minute event? Host a watch party for the NASA TV show! NASA will broadcast International Observe the Moon programming from its website, including updates from researchers on what is currently happening in the field of lunar science and exploration.

But don’t forget to look up too! NASA provides resources, such as a downloadable moon map which includes points of interest like the mountains and the Apollo landing sites.

“It’s a great way to explore this world other than our own, to feel like you can really climb mountains there, that it’s a world unto itself,” Jones says. “Even if you don’t know anything about the Moon, or anything about what to look for, we’ll show you, and we’ll tell you a little about them.”

Don’t miss NASA’s resources for hosting an event or just observing the Moon for yourself, like their Moon map adapted to October 1, 2022. (Credit: NASA Moon)

But looking at Earth’s satellite isn’t the only way to appreciate the Moon. You can listen to music on the Moon, make art on the Moon, or “observe” the Moon in other creative ways.

“We want you to learn something about the Moon, and we’d like you to observe it one way or another,” Jones says. “But we want you to do it in a way that makes sense to you.”

Want to participate? Learn more about the International Moon Observation Night and other space opportunities at Science near me. Science Near Me is a free resource to help you find opportunities to participate in all types of science events, projects, and programs near you, in person and online. There are currently 187 Observe the Moon Night events recorded on Science Near Me – and counting! This event and many other space-related events listed on Science Near Me were provided by the NASA Night Sky Networkpartner of Science Near Me. Check if there is an International Moon Night Watch event near you todayand consider observing the Moon with the global community on October 1!

If your organization has a science opportunity to share, be sure to add it to Science Near Me! We would love to share your event, opportunity, activity or camp with our community.


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