The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University invites the Brazas Valley community to take part in a space physics spectacular on Saturday (Oct. 21) in celebration of International Observe the Moon Night 2023.
No fees or tickets are required for the free public event, set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at O.R. Simpson Drill Field on the Texas A&M campus and hosted by the Physics Lab Center. Paid parking is available in the Gene Stallings Blvd. Garage.
The event also will feature a live stream, available from 7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. via the Physics and Astronomy YouTube channel. The livestream will offer a guided tour of the moon and an up-close view of a real piece of the moon returned from a NASA Apollo mission. The first 50 attendees who ask a question about the moon will receive a free NASA moon poster. No registration is needed, and attendance is free and open to all ages.
International Observe the Moon Night is a global public event aimed at encouraging observation, appreciation and understanding of our moon, along with its profound connection to space science, exploration and human culture. The annual event serves as a bridge connecting scientists, educators and lunar enthusiasts from all around the world.
“This event promises an unforgettable journey to the moon and back, featuring hands-on space physics demonstrations and live moon observations through powerful telescopes, with a lunar rock sample on display,” said Dr. Allison McGraw, laboratory manager for Physics and Astronomy.
McGraw notes that numerous telescopes at Simpson Drill Field will provide participants with up-close optical views of the moon’s surface. Texas A&M astronomers and physicists also will be on hand to offer related expertise, explanations and context.
Attendees are invited to explore the first quarter lunar phase while gaining insight into what exactly a lunar phase entails. In addition, they will be encouraged to join in predicting how their bodies would fare under conditions beyond Earth, aided by marshmallow astronauts that might just brave the vacuum of space in an effort to help attendees visualize the effects.
“We understand that the moon is a celestial enigma, and we aim to unravel its mysteries while shedding light on the peculiar rhythms and rotations that define the Earth-Moon system,” McGraw said. “We encourage everyone to seize this chance to expand their cosmic horizons.”
The night also will include live music from the local band Loquobin, featured in two sets — the first from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the second from 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.
International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with many contributors. LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.