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Seeing the moon through a telescope for the first time – Mykhailo’s goosebump moment

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Mykhailo: “Hello. I come from Ukraine. My goosebump moment happened when I saw the moon through a telescope for the first time. As far as I remember, it happened five years ago, and I didn’t really know how to use my telescope properly. However, somehow, I managed to find the moon in the night sky. When I saw its beautiful craters, mountains, ridges, I was indeed fascinated. I also imagined how first humans landed on the surface of the moon, and how they were also stunned by its beautiful sights. So, this is, basically, my goosebump moment and I believe that it was one of the best moments of my entire life.”

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An impressive celestial body

The moon is the natural satellite of planet Earth. For millennia, man has observed it and used it as a means of illumination at night to guide him, even to the point of veneration. Likewise, variations in human attitudes and in some aspects of nature have been associated with it.

The truth is that the moon is an impressive celestial body and of great importance for life on earth. Perhaps that is why many people acquire telescopes to see the moon. Of course, because of its great size and proximity to our planet, approximately 3 thousand kilometers, we could see it on any night with a clear sky.

The moon has been the only natural place outside our planet that humans have set foot on, in the 1960s. After that, it has been used to study various space phenomena and a bit of the earth’s history because it has a great importance in the shape of the planet, in the tilt, rotation and other factors that maintain the balance and ecosystem.

Observing the moon

Believe it or not, observing the moon is something you can do regardless of the weather, the time of day, or your location. The easiest way to observe the moon is simply by looking up.

The moon is the brightest object in our night sky, the second brightest in our daytime sky, and can be seen anywhere in the world: from the remote and dark Atacama Desert in Chile to the brightly lit streets of Tokyo.

International Moon Observing Night always takes place near the crescent quarter of the moon. That is when the near side of the Moon is half-illuminated. The crescent quarter of the moon is ideal for evening observation, as our natural satellite rises in the evening and is well above the horizon during twilight.

With the naked eye, you can see the dark gray areas that are cooled by lava, called seas. However, with the help of a telescope or binoculars, you will be able to identify details on the moon. The line that distinguishes night and day on the moon, called the moon’s terminator, is ideal for observing lunar craters and mountains, as the extensive shadows cast increase the contrast between them.

The earth as seen from the moon

Earth is not a motionless planet in the universe but rotates around itself producing night and day. Moreover, in its annual orbit around the forms the seasons, allows the survival of ecosystems and life as we know it today. However, in observing the universe, perspective matters a great deal.

Thanks to technological advances, images and data from NASA, Dr. James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the U.S. space agency, has made a computer recreation in which the important thing is the perspective. He shows how the moon is observed from earth and, in the same way, shows how the planet would be seen from earth’s satellite at a higher speed than the real one.

In his video, generated from NASA images at computer-augmented speed, he shows the rotation of the planet and its satellite during the month of April 2020, a month in which the famous phenomenon of the “Supermoon” occurred, the phase in which the moon entered the perigee phase, its closest point to Earth, 357,035 kilometers from our planet, while it was full.

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