Did you know that Sept. 26, 2020 is officially the date of the annual International Observe the Moon Night?
To celebrate the occasion, NASA’s latest “Image of the Day” drop highlighted a view of Earth’s lone natural satellite as seen back in 1991. The dark areas of the moon’s surface are basalt plains that formed from ancient volcanic eruptions.
NASA pitches the day as an international event, but the annual observance that’s been happening every year since 2009 is sponsored by the U.S. space agency’s own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. It was established for a few reasons, as laid out on the event’s homepage.
Mostly, though, it’s an awareness-raising endeavor that aims to get people thinking about outer space in various ways. The date it falls on changes from year to year, but they’ve all fallen during September or October, and specifically at a time when the moon is around its first quarter.
There are all sorts of options for those wanting to embrace their inner astronomer. You can join one of the many events happening around the world in honor of the occasion. You can also host one of your own if you prefer; there are guidelines for that right here.
What’s more, because of the extenuating circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA also set up a page with a list of activities that people can use to get involved at home. There’s also a Facebook group devoted to the event, as well as a Flickr group gathering together the work of amateur lunar photographers.
All participants are also invited to register on the event homepage, which helps in the assembling of a map illustrating the reach and impact of International Observe the Moon Night. If nothing else, be sure to cast your eyes skyward at some point on Saturday night and say hey to Earth’s closest celestial neighbor.