Tonight is International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) and it looks like I will have clear skies!
InOMN is an annual event dedicated to get people to ‘look up’ and take notice or our nearest neighbor. I’m looking forward to this. It’s a great excuse to spend a good bit of time looking at some of the features of the moon and there is a lot to see.
Nice thing is you don’t need anything other than your eyes to take part and if you have a pair of binoculars you raise the bar a lot. PLUS, the moon is about half full so features along the terminator (the light/dark boundary) stand out wonderfully AND (yes there’s more) the moon will be “up” before it gets dark so it is a great opportunity to get the kids out and looking too.
I get side tracked a lot so I find it helpful to go out with a plan for viewing. I like to read up on my targets to make the best use of my time and if I have company (especially kids) they get more out of it too.and one of the better tools for this is a program I’ve linked before: The Virtual Moon Atlas. It’s free and works great.
I think I’ll use my ETX-70 tonight, I can easily move it around to get away from trees (which could be an issue with the big scope).
All I need to do is find my older sunglasses. Sunglasses? Yes! The moon is so bright under magnification it’s actually difficult to look at for longer periods of time.
My main target for tonight? Craters around the south pole, a crater called Shomberger in particular (Long: 24.69 W / Lat: 76.64 S). Seems like a good match for my ETX.
Another target isn’t a crater at all, it’s a mountain. Mons Piton is a ~ 2,250 meter mountain feature rising out of the Mar Imbrium (Long 0.92 West / Lat: 40.72 N). While I’m in the area I’ll see how many of the Cassini family of craters I can make out.
Visit “The Moon” here The Nine Planets for some great info.
Have a look if you can!