Apollo 17 Astronaut Cernan with the American flag and Earth high above. Credit: The Project Apollo Archive. 

Apollo 17 Astronaut Cernan with the American flag and Earth high above. Credit: The Project Apollo Archive. 

Greetings, Earthlings!

This weekend, October 8th, 2016, is International Observe the Moon Night! This event, sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, engages the public to look at our Moon and give appreciation to the astronauts who have led amazing discoveries that we are still researching even now! 

For those in the Northwest Arkansas area, a local nonprofit, Supporting STEM and Space, will be holding a viewing event on the corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue in Fayetteville! On the same evening, Sugar Creek Astronomical will be hosting an event at Hobbs State Park near Rogers, AR.  I will be giving a presentation about our moon at the Hobbs event. For those readers not in the Arkansas area, check out http://www.lpi.usra.edu/observe_the_moon_night/ or contact your local astronomy club for information. Or go get a pair of binoculars and gather your neighbors!

Apollo 15 image of the Sea of Ingenuity and Thomson Crater. Credit: The Project Apollo Archive. 

Apollo 15 image of the Sea of Ingenuity and Thomson Crater. Credit: The Project Apollo Archive. 

To get ready for this event, here are some interesting facts about our moon!

1-The lunar volcanic regions (the big darker and smoother regions) are now observed to be younger than the rest of the surface. This was confirmed by China's Chang'e-3 lunar rover, which analyzed samples in Mare Imbrium. 

2-There is a type of lunar rock with an acronym called KREEP! This stands for K(potassium) REE (rare earth elements) P(phosphorous). 

3-There are potentially-hollow volcanic lava tubes on the moon! Presently, there are small rovers being built around the world to one day let a rover go spelunking in a lunar cave system!

4-The plains and bays on the moon are named after Latin terms describing weather and other abstract terms. Like Lacus Felicitatis is "Lake of Happiness"!

Thank you for reading and come back next week on a segment about Antarctic Meteorite Hunting!