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LASP community celebration focuses in on the Moon

September 24, 2012

LASP Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies (CCLDAS) scientists and staff speak with the public about lunar science during International Observe the Moon Night on September 22, 2012, at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall in Boulder. A large lunar telescope is set up in the background at the right. (Courtesy LASP)

Members of the Boulder community joined LASP scientists, staff, and students under the glow of a First Quarter Moon on Saturday evening for the 2012 International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) celebration. Sponsored by the LASP Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies (CCLDAS), the event was an opportunity for the community to view the Moon through a lunar telescope, learn about the latest in lunar science, and celebrate the wonder of our closest neighbor in the Solar System.

Passers-by on the Twenty Ninth Street Mall lingered at a LASP display table and chatted with CCLDAS experts about the importance of the Moon, officially ushering in autumn during Saturday’s Fall Equinox. Children and families built their own miniature lunar telescopes out of plastic lenses and cardboard tubes, and pointed them at the perfectly illuminated First Quarter Moon.

The star of the event, however, was a large lunar telescope, custom-built by LASP scientist Scott Robertson. Visitors lined up to view the Moon through the telescope and were rewarded with a strikingly detailed close-up of the lunar surface, its craters and valleys dramatically enhanced by sideways-cast shadows and a clear sky. As observers peered at the Moon through squinted eyes, they were encouraged to dedicate their “winks” to the memory of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon.

The LASP event was one of hundreds of InOMN celebrations held worldwide. InOMN is an annual event organized by a team of scientists, educators, and Moon enthusiasts from government and non-profit organizations, and businesses across the world. For more information on InOMN, please visit http://observethemoonnight.org/.

You may read about CCLDAS Education and Public Outreach at http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/education/ccldas-epo/.

CCLDAS graduate student Anthony Shu "winks" at the Moon through a lunar telescope during the September 22, 2012 LASP International Observe the Moon Night celebration. (Courtesy LASP)