On Friday, Oct. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Natural History Museum of New Mexico (NHMNM) hosted the annual Observe the Moon Night.
This event occurs in either September or October, when the moon is around the first quarter – a great phase for evening observing, according to NASA’s website. International Observe, the Moon Night has been held annually since 2010. Each year, thousands of people participate at museums, planetaria, schools, universities, observatories, parks, businesses and backyards around the world. Everyone can participate.
Although Friday started out rainy and cloudy, the sky cleared up by the time night fell with only a few clouds scattered in the evening sky by 7 p.m. Telescopes were provided by the museum, and the Albuquerque Astronomical Society also set up telescopes along the observation deck for use.
People of all ages lined up outside to catch a glimpse of the moon as well as Jupiter, which could be seen fairly clearly as well. As patrons made their way up the observatory stairs, they were greeted by staff who welcomed any questions.
The Natural History Museum also featured a 60-foot by 20-foot moon map that was on display in the National Mall during the Apollo 11 anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.
"We are very excited to have this moon map all the way from Washington, D.C.," Space Science Director, Jim Greenhouse, said. "We will have the map until December, so we will hopefully be using it at more events until then."
The moon map was laid out across the museum floor where people could walk on the moon in just their socks — instead of the usually necessary space suit — and look at all of the geographical points on the moon. This gave people a realistic and fun way to connect what they were seeing through the telescope lens to real life locations.
The Natural History Museum honored this event one night early as the theme of one of their $5 First Fridays.
Currently, First Fridays at the NHMNM feature Fractal Friday at the Planetarium, along with showings of the documentary "The Day We Walked on the Moon" in the STEM Lecture Hall. The movie "UP" is also showing at the Dyna Theater.
To see more of the Natural History Museum’s events, its programming schedule can be accessed through its website at nmnaturalhistory.org/calendar.
Natty DeAnna is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @deanna_natty