Tuesday, September 21

The Night of a Full Moon

Sometimes our lives are so fast paced we often lose sight of the wonderful things that are right in front of us. Take the moon for example, have you ever just stopped, looked up and wondered about it (it’s that big round, white thing in the sky).

Okay, so your wonderings may have been triggered by your stomach and slide along the region of “is it really made of Cheese?” Or you may have broken out in a cold sweat while anxiously looking around and wondering what the heck you are doing outside during a full moon (Yes, werewolves do rule the night).

This is the time to grab your telescope. With a Refracting telescope or a Reflecting telescope you can find out if the moon is indeed made of cheese, safe from whatever may be howling in the woods.

Let Us Get to Know Our Moon

The moon is about 380,000 km, which is about 240,000 miles away from earth and circles the earth every 27-29 days. On earth our tides are described as lunar tides because they are raised twice a day by the pull of gravity between the earth and the moon. The gravity of the moon and our gravity locks the moon’s rotational path so it always remains fixed with the same side facing us.

There are 8 different phases of the moon, cycling through the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter and waning crescent. The full moon being one of the most visually impressive celestial sites that you will ever see through the lens of a telescope.

The Celestial Full Moon

When there is a full moon, like the one on the 2 June 2015, the luminosity of the sun will bring all proportions of the moon in stark relief and any shadows that remain will belong only to the moon. This is the perfect time to haul out your telescope and evaluate the moons circular beauty in all its luminous glory.

You will note on further study through your scope that the surface of the moon does resemble Swiss cheese with all its dips and crevices. And if you stare long enough you may even catch a glimpse of the “man on the moon”, the Maria delineate which is the name given to the lava-filled basins that are liberally spread on the moon’s surface. These Maria delineate were inadvertently caused by brutal collisions with asteroids and meteorites over a space of about 4 billion years, scarring the face of the moon in a way which is fascinating to look at on a clear starry night.

With a full moon and a telescope you will be able to view the ‘seas’ of the moon: Mare Nubium, meaning Sea of clouds, Procellarum meaning Ocean of storms and the Mare Tranquillitatis meaning Sea of tranquillity.

Why these are called seas is any bodies guess, you seeFeature Articles, there is no water on the moon. Go figure. They are simply craters which are clearly visible through your telescope when the moon is full.

So mark your calendar for the 2 June 2015 as not to miss this celestial event and stare agog at our own museum of solar-system history embroiled on one ball of rock… howl if you must.