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NASA would really like you to stare at the moon on Saturday night

Did you know that September 26, 2020 is officially the date of the annual International Observe the Moon Night?

To mark the occasion, NASA’s latest “Image of the Day” drop highlighted a view of Earth’s lone natural satellite seen in 1991. The dark areas of the lunar surface are basalt plains that formed from ancient volcanic eruptions. .

NASA would really like you to stare at the moon on Saturday night

Image: Lick Observatory via NASA

NASA proposes the day as an international event, but the annual observance that has been held annually since 2009 is sponsored by the US space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. It was established for a few reasons, as noted on the event home page.

Mostly, however, it’s an outreach effort that aims to get people to think about outer space in various ways. The date on which it falls changes from year to year, but they all fell during September or October, and particularly at a time when the moon is around its first quarter.

There are all kinds of options for those who want to embrace their inner astronomer. You can attend one of the many events held around the world in honor of the occasion. You can also host your own if you prefer; there are guidelines for that right here.

Additionally, due to the mitigating circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA has also created a page with a list of tasks that people can use to get involved at home. There is also a Facebook group dedicated to the event, as well as a Flickr group that collects the work of amateur lunar photographers.

All attendees are also encouraged to register on the event home page, which helps in assembling a map illustrating the scope 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 hello to Earth’s closest celestial neighbor.

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