International Observe the Moon Night is an annual worldwide public engagement program that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to planetary science and exploration. Each fall, people from across the globe are invited to observe and celebrate their personal connection to the Moon. In addition to encouraging individual and family participation, the program supports organizations like schools, museums, clubs, and libraries, to engage visitors in Moon related events by providing training and event resources. Each year the program grows in popularity and participation. Through relationships with international space science organizations, the event strives to support a more diverse global audience. Since 2010, an estimated 1.4 million visitors have participated in thousands of formal events and as individual observers in 107 different countries as well as all 50 U.S. States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Ongoing health concerns due to the global pandemic have challenged the coordinating committee to support new types of programs including many more virtual events. Hosts are now able to register both in-person and virtual events and visitors can search for both to attend. Evaluation of events includes registration data, surveys of hosts, visitor surveys, and analysis of social media activity that allows us to characterize events across the globe. This year’s International Observe the Moon Night will be held on September 26, 2020. Data collected this year will help us understand what additional supports are needed for virtual events and characterize how people across the globe continue to celebrate the Moon.
International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with many contributing partners. More information is at https://moon.nasa.gov/observe-the-moon-night/.