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International Observe the Moon Night

This article appeared in the October 19, 2018 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

International Observe the Moon Night

Photo by Jessie Eastland.

By Vinita Domier

Special to the Enterprise


Join the Davis Astronomy Club on Sunday, October 21, starting at 6:00pm at the Explorit Science Center (3141 5th Street, Davis) for a special meeting to participate in the International Observe the Moon Night. Everyone is invited to the free meeting indoors, followed by a star party outdoors where we will observe the Moon, planets, stars, etc.


The annual worldwide event promoted by NASA since 2010 is to highlight the Moon. After the Sun, the Moon is the most significant object in the sky. This event is a reminder to modern humans to observe the Moon, learn about its salient features, reflect on its importance, and celebrate its explorations.


We will pay homage to our sole satellite with a special talk about the November 1969 Apollo 12 lunar mission by special guest speaker David Takemoto-Weerts, one of NASA's Solar System Ambassadors. We will also discuss facts and features about the Moon.


The Moon has fascinated humans since the dawn of mankind and provided a monthly rhythm to their lives for eons. The Moon was one of the first celestial bodies to be studied and tracked by ancient astronomers. The ancient Greeks named it after goddess Selene and the Romans after their goddess Luna (from where the adjective lunar for things associated with the Moon is derived).


The Moon is Earth’s nearest neighbor, one quarter its size, and approximately as old as the solar system. It is much less dense, and hence its gravitational pull is only one sixth compared to Earth’s. There is no atmosphere because of low escape velocity all gasses have dissipated.


As there is no wind, weather, or water to cause erosion or change, it is considered a geologically old surface. The Moon is the only other celestial body that mankind has visited thus far. Twelve Apollo astronauts have walked on its solid surface that have craters, highlands, and basaltic seas.


The Moon and the Sun appear nearly the same size in the sky because even though the Sun is 400 times bigger than the Moon it is also 400 times farther away. At some new moons, the Sun, Moon and the Earth happen to align. The Moon completely blocks out the Sun resulting in total solar eclipses.


This does not happen at all new moons as the orbit of the moon is tilted 5 degrees with respect to the orbit of the Earth. Lunar eclipses result when the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon during some full moons. The twice-daily rise/fall of tides is due the Moon’s gravitational effects.



Explorit’s coming events:


  • Visit Explorit’s latest exhibition, Earth Explorations. Explorit’s Exploration Gallery is open to the public every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.

  • Spooky Science returns for another year of immersive, sci-fi fun. This year’s all-new mystery opens to the public Friday and Saturday, October 26-27, with a preview weekend for Boy and Girl Scouts on Friday and Saturday, October 19-20, 6:00-9:00 p.m. each night. Children 3-17 are $10, adults and children 2 and under are free. Registration is open now. Call 530-756-0191 to sign up.



Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at
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