By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Senior Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Astronomy Club will host a special event for International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, October 16, at Windsurfer’s Point on the northeast corner of Lake Hefner.
International Observe the Moon Night occurs annually in September or October, when the Moon is around first quarter, which is an ideal phase for evening observing, the NASA website states. A first-quarter Moon offers excellent viewing opportunities along the terminator (the line between night and day), where shadows enhance the Moon’s cratered landscape.
According to the NASA website, International Observe the Moon Night is a time to gather with fellow Moon enthusiasts worldwide. During the event, the public is invited to take part in celestial observations, and honor cultural and personal connections to the Moon.
The event also helps to raise awareness of NASA’s lunar science and exploration programs.
International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission and the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with many contributors.
Those new to astronomy or simply wanting to explore the hobby are also invited for a novice program that evening.
The Moon will rise at 4:55 p.m. that afternoon and be 84 percent illuminated through the evening. Club members will set up telescopes to view it, along with Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and even the outer planets Neptune and Uranus.
Newcomers to the hobby are invited to bring telescopes for tutorials on how to use them, or to view through member scopes to get a feel for what kind of equipment to purchase, organizers said.
According to the website, the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club provides three major benefits to the community, stating, “We provide educational opportunities to the public in the sciences and academics, opportunities to contribute valuable scientific research and data to the astronomical community, and opportunities less experienced members to grow in one of the greatest hobbies in this world or any other.”
Founded in 1958, the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club meets monthly at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, on the second Friday of each month. The club owns and operates Cheddar Ranch Observatory in rural Blaine County and sponsors the just-completed annual Okie-Tex Star Party at Kenton in the Panhandle, one of the nation’s largest gatherings of astronomy hobbyists.
For more information, visit the club website at OKCAstroclub.com.