International Observe the Moon Night 2018: When, What Is It? How to Participate

international observe the moon night
International Observe the Moon Night will be held Saturday night for those looking to participate. NASA

This weekend is an exciting one for those who enjoy viewing the moon and learning about Earth's natural satellite. International Observe the Moon Night 2018 is scheduled for Saturday, October 20.

The event happens each year in either September or October when the moon is close to being in its first quarter phase. The event is set around that first quarter moon because that's when the moon is visible in the late afternoon and early evening hours. That time is far more convenient for event hosts and for people who may have children they want to participate in the even as well.

For the event in 2018, there were more than 750 events registered with NASA to take part in the evening. Those who register gain access to extra resources and news about observe the moon night.

The event is held worldwide and is meant to be a public event to encourage observation and an appreciation of the moon, according to NASA. At hundreds of events, thousands of people participate each year. Those events usually happen at various museums, universities, parks and other areas optimal for viewing the moon. Even events in the backyards of astronomy fans count as participation in Observe the Moon Night.

Next year the night is planned for October 5 and the year after it will be held on September 26. NASA has a website where those looking to participate can look up and see where the nearest event for the night is near them. Some of the nights are general astronomy nights while others specifically focus on the moon, but either way they're an opportunity for people to get involved in astronomy.

Anyone hoping to attend an event can use this website to search and find the event nearest them. NASA also has a section on its website with viewing activities and event materials for anyone looking for help planning their own event for the evening. Those activities include viewing guides, maps and information on how to make a moon phase calendar.

Event materials made available by NASA include posters, postcards, event flyers, press release templates and more. NASA is encouraging those participating to share their experience and any photos they take on social media with the hashtag #observethemoon.