See and understand the moon

Our first full moon in the sky--as a child--brought such wonderments. It is truly a magnificent view even to the naked eye. If the night is clear, you can see amazing detail of the lunar surface just gazing from your back yard.

As we continue on the path of astronomy, many celestial bodies become fascinating to research and explore. To see and understand the moon is something we all need to do. It is a mystery and yet humans have walked there, taken photos and element samples for our scientists to dissect.

To see and understand the moon, like anything else, can go from the simple to the very complex. To gaze at the moon with the naked eye, making yourself familiar with the lunar map will help you pick out the seas, craters and other geographic phenomenon that others have already mapped to make your study more enjoyable. Moon maps can be had from any astronomy store online, they are well worth the investment.

The best time to view the moon is at night when there are few clouds and the weather is accommodating for a long study. The first quarter yields the greatest detail of study. The phenomenon known as "earthshine" gives you the ability to see the darkened part of the moon with some detail, even if the moon is only a sliver.

Buying a good pair of binoculars or a telescope can do wonders for the detail you can see on the lunar surface. Use a good tripod that you can affix the telescope to so you can study the moon without distortion.

The internet can give you access to the Hubble and many of the huge telescopes that are pointed at the moon, constantly. Many astronomy clubs are working on ways to combine multiple telescopes, carefully synchronized with computers for the best view of the lunar landscape.

Join astronomy societies to see and understand the moon even more. There is so much to learn from our double planet. We can boast that our moon that is a quarter size of our planet is the largest moon associated with a planet in the known universe.