International Observe the Moon Night is a day each year that everyone on Earth is invited to learn about lunar science and exploration, take part in celestial observations, and honor cultural and personal connections to the Moon. This event occurs in the fall on or near a first-quarter Moon phase–a great phase for evening observing, as the Moon is high in the sky at sunset. A first-quarter Moon also offers excellent viewing opportunities along the terminator (the line between day and night), where long shadows enhance views of the Moon’s cratered landscape. Visibility even with the naked eye and in light polluted skies makes the Moon one of the most accessible celestial objects. We encourage people to interpret ‘observe’ broadly to explore images and other data from spacecraft, 3D prints of lunar landscapes, Moon songs and stories, art. Each year, people participate in International Observe the Moon Night by attending or hosting virtual or in-person events or observing the Moon from home. People also connect with lunar enthusiasts around the world through social media.
In 2020, we hosted the first ever International Observe the Moon Night NASA livestream and increased support for both individual lunar observers and hosts for both in-person and virtual events. One third of events in 2020 reported were virtual or included virtual components. An estimated 500,000 people participated in International Observe the Moon Night in 2020 including 3,775 International Observe the Moon Night registered events and observers. Events and observers were registered in all 50 US states + Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia; 103 countries (10 new); and, for the first time, on all 7 continents–with an event held at the South Pole.
Join us for International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, October 16, 2021. We encourage scientists to participate in local, regional, or international events through in-person and virtual participations. International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission and the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA GSFC, with many contributing partners. Program information, resources, and registration are available on moon.nasa.gov/observe.