International Observe the Moon Night

Impromptu observing of the Moon for International Observe the Moon Night‭ ‬at Coolidge Park‭

On the first day of‭ ‬Autumn‭ ‬in the northern hemisphere,‭ eleven members of the ‬Barnard Astronomical‭ ‬Society brought eight state-of-the-art telescopes and invited the public to‭ ‬observe‭ ‬the detail and complexity of Earth‭’‬s only natural satellite,‭ ‬the Moon.‭ After the sun set and the Moon gained contrast, those in attendance were able to view the‭ ‬“Lunar X‭”‬,‭ ‬which is only visible during a four hour window before the Moon‭’‬s first quarter phase‭! ‬Many attendees from the public both young and old had never seen the Moon through a telescope,‭ ‬and their reactions‭ ‬at the eyepiece were full of enthusiasm! 

Members of the BAS began setting‭ ‬up at the park around‭ ‬5pm.  Members Bill Roddy and Richard Clements‬ brought special sun filters for their telescopes and everyone was able to see ‭sunspot AR1575 ‬on its churning,‭ ‬crackling trip across the face of the Sun.‭  Richard Smith used his refractor telescope to project the Sun onto a piece of paper! ‬Although the originally planned time to adjourn was at‭ ‬7pm,‭ ‬an intensely and steadily curious public kept the BAS presenting to the public until‭ ‬9:30pm

This exciting and well-attended outreach program demonstrated a keen public interest in astronomy as well as the Barnard Astronomical Society’s unique position in Chattanooga to promote the hobby. Great appreciation goes‭ ‬to everyone‭ ‬who‭ ‬showed up‭!

Fun facts about the moon:‭

  • The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth,‭ ‬so only one side or‭ ‬59%‭ ‬is visible.
  • The Moon is‭ ‬1/4‭ ‬the size of Earth,‭ ‬making it the largest natural satellite in the Solar System,‭ ‬relative to the size of its planet.
  • The Moon rotates at‭ ‬10‭ ‬miles per hour,‭ ‬compared to Earth‭’‬s rotation of‭ ‬1,000‭ ‬miles per hour.‭
  • While the Moon‭’‬s origin is still not yet fully understood,‭ ‬it‭’‬s thought to have formed about‭ ‬4.5‭ ‬million years ago.
  • The multi layer space suits worn by the astronauts to the Moon weighed‭ ‬180‭ ‬pounds on Earth,‭ ‬but thirty pounds on the Moon due to the lower gravity‭ (‬only‭ ‬17%‭)‬.

Observing the Moon

More pictures here.


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