Learning Space 102: Celebrating the Moon

By on September 17, 2015 in

This week’s episode hit on three big Moon related topics. Catch all the details you need below!

International Observe the Moon Night

save-the-date-300x197This weekend, on Saturday 19 September, we’re celebrating International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). This global celebration of the Moon has activities planned on every continent of Earth except for Antartica, and with some of the events (like those here on CosmoQuest!) taking place in virtual spaces, none of you have an excuse not to get involved.

Here at SIUE, we’re preparing in two ways. We’re going to be doing a real-life event here in Edwardsville at Annie’s Frozen Custard at 6pm with the local Riverbend Astronomy Club. I’ll be there and I have every intension of inviting you in via Periscope (follow @CosmoQuestX on Twitter). We’ll also be doing online events all day. Watch for a blog post on CosmoQuest’s main blog on Friday.

However you choose to celebrate InOMN, we want to hear about it. Please share photos either in the Flickr Group or Twitter with the hashtag #moonnight.

International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by hosting or attending an InOMN event — and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together. Want to plan ahead? In 2016, InOMN will be on 8 October.

27/28 September Lunar Eclipse

Are you in the Americas or western Europe or Africa? You have a lunar eclipse coming your way. Here are the key times to look up with links to find out what these times are for your location:

  • P1: 00:11:47 UT (all times)
    Moon enters the Earth’s Penumbra (you likely won’t see anything).

  • U1: 01:07:11 UT (all times)
    Moon enters the Earth’s Umbra and a dark gray or red “eclipsed” region begins to be apparent.
  • U2: 02:11:10 UT (all times)
    Moon fully inside Umbra and appears fully eclipsed.
  • U3: 03:23:05 UT (all times)
    Moon begins to exit the Umbra and a brightened area begins to grow.
  • U4: 04:27:03 UT (all times)
    Moon completely exits Umbra, but still in Penumbra.
  • P4: 05:22:27 UT (all times)
    Moon exits the Penumbra.

There are lunar eclipses 1-3 times a year, depending on how things do (or do not) line up between the Earth, Moon, and Sun. Put simply, the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is tilted, and we only get eclipses when the Moon’s wandering path aligns so that the Moon is above the Earth’s ecliptic exactly opposite from the Sun. You can play with a lunar eclipse simulator.

Want to tweet an explanation? @AstroKatie has you covered.
Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.03.50 PM

Lunar Phases

There are countless (as far as we’re willing to count) explanations of lunar phases out on the Internet. We’re at a loss to identify any one written description that is particular better than all the others, but there is one simulator that stands out for being awesome: The Nebraska Applet Project’s Lunar Phase Simulator.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.20.08 PM

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3 Responses to Learning Space 102: Celebrating the Moon

  1. Richard Drumm September 18, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    This episode of Learning Space will be put into the 365 Days of Astronomy schedule so that it plays on InOMN itself! Usually we run it on Wednesdays, but we’ll make an exception for this one! Yipee!
    Rich

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