Backyard Science

If you have a telescope, the moon is an exciting thing to study! Since the invention of the telescope, people have realized that the moon is not a smooth surface, but instead is covered with craters, ejecta blankets, and ancient lava flows.

How many of these features can you recognize? Look at the figure below to learn moon geography:


Whether or not you have a telescope, you can count the number of days in the lunar cycle. Begin counting on a night where the moon is full, and then count the number of days until the next full moon! Try this for three months. Do you get the same number of days per lunar cycle?

The lunar cycle is so exact that we can predict the phases of the moon beyond the year 2000!

Here is a lunar phase table that ranges from 1997 to the year 2000

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