People all over the world went outside Saturday night to observe the moon for the first ever International Observe the Moon Night. At Fuertes Observatory on north campus, over 300 adults and children from the university and surrounding communities gathered to view and learn about the moon. The event was organized by the Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research (CRSR) and the Cornell Astronomical Society.
There were over ten activities, including a station where kids dressed up like astronauts and bounced around in “moon shoes,” dozens of telescopes pointed at Earth’s nearest neighbor and taste testing moon-themed favors of liquid nitrogen ice cream.
The Ithaca weather provided patches of clear sky and a relatively warm night for the hundreds who came to participate in the activities. Nancy Schaff, Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for CRSR and main organizer of the event was, “really excited to see so many people come out and to know that we are joining people all over the world who are also looking at the moon tonight.”
While the future of US lunar exploration remains uncertain with President Obama’s cancellation of NASA’s Constellation Program in February 2010, the event aimed to genearte interest in the moon and inspire the next generation of lunar explorers and scientists. Man landed on the moon over 40 years ago, yet “there is still so much that we don’t know and still can learn about the moon,” according to Nathan Williams ’11, who gave a presentation about lunar geology at the event.