Friday, September 25, 2020
Tomorrow is International Observe the Moon Night! (Saturday September 26, 2020)
The insets show the telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn at this time.
Saturday 26 Sptember is International Observe the Moon Night. An international initiative to get people out and observe our beautiful nearest neighbour. You don't need much, just your unaided eyes, but even binoculars or a small telescope will greatly aid your appreciation of our Moon.
This weekend the Moon is three days past first quarter and above the North-west horizon forming a line with the planets Saturn and Jupiter. It also forms another line with the bright stars Altair and Vega. All in all a loverly sight.
While not quite as good as Last Quarter, it is a good phase as the terminator, the light dark boundary
on the Moons surface, is close to may interesting craters that are at
their best at this sun angle.
A telescopic simulation of the appearance of the Moon at 19:40
ACST, (astronomical twilight, 90 minutes after sunset),
several prominent craters are visible, particularly prominent are the Clavius and Logmontanus at the south pole (near the Moon label) and Copernicus (two thirds of the way to the north/bottom). The prominent dark areas, the Sea of Tranquility, the sea of serenity and the sea of showers (which form the eyes and chin of "the man in the Moon" are easily seen with the unaided eye. Click to embiggen.
Even with modest binocular craters can be seen along the Moons terminator. A small telescope reveals a wealth of detail, and finding and focusing on the Moon is so much easier than any other class of astronomical object. You can use this map to identify the features you see (the map is upside down from our perspective). This interactive map will help you explore more.
You may wish to try some astrophotography with a mobile phone or a point and shoot camera. Follow the links for hints on imaging the Moon (and also Jupiter) with these systems.
Even if you don't have a telescope, just go out and look the the north-west, the view will be lovely. Around 19:40 you may even see a satellite or two pass over. Including a relatively bright Hubble Space Station pass.
If you don't have a telescope, a local astronomical club may be having an International Observe the Moon Night near you. Check out this map for locations.
So if the sky is clear, go out and have a look!