When was the last night you took time to gaze at the Moon and reflect on your life, past, present or future? If your answer is “too long ago,” then today, September 19th, is the perfect excuse to get back in the moon-watching game. Each fall, International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is a celebration of our nighttime version of the sun. Worldwide, people get together to learn about the moon’s history and impact on cultures and of course, sit back and observe. In honor of InOMN, we’ve scoured the web for our favorite fun facts about the Moon and for interactive, creative ways to participate in this special day.
Moon Fun Facts
- No, unfortunately, cheese does not make up any of the Moon’s interior! Instead, like the Earth, the Moon consists of 3 main layers – a small metallic core, a rocky middle layer, and a thin, rocky outer crust.
Tip: Next time you are craving cheese, look for it around your neighborhood and not around the solar system.
- We see the Moon every night but how big is it relative to the Earth? The Moon is actually about 1/4th the diameter of the Earth – in fact, it is 2,100 miles across, about the distance between New York and Honduras.
Tip: Find two cities that are 2,100 miles apart, and make them the start and end of your next family vacation!
- The Moon’s gravity is much weaker than the Earth’s gravity, hence the ability for astronauts to jump high in the air but still land softly on their feet. On the Moon, you would weigh 1/6th your weight on Earth and would be that much closer to being as light as a feather.
- The Moon is the fifth largest moon. The smallest moon recorded? That title would belong to Deimos of the planet Mars, measuring at a whopping 7 miles in diameter.
Tip: Take a nice early morning 7 mile stroll or run. When you’ve reached the end, you’ve already reached the end of Deimos.
Interactive and Creative InOMN Activities
Moon Viewing, Picnic, and Checklist
A simple but fun way to celebrate InOMN is to find a local park or favorite hangout spot, bring blankets, food, and binoculars, and print out this Moon Map and Viewing Guide (pages 13-14). Reference the map and check off the features that you see! You will learn a great deal about the Moon while enjoying a nice, tranquil evening gazing at the sky. Make sure family or friends are there to tackle the checklist together.
Eat the Moon, Literally
Although we did admit that the Moon does not consist of any cheese, you can still make eating the main event of your InOMN celebration. With family or friends, gather some goodies like M&Ms and graham crackers and then create your own edible Moon (pages 23-24)! Of course, you may delve into the treat while learning more about the Moon’s layers, which again, do not contain cheese. Make this activity more fun by having each person use different goodies to build his or her Moon.
How Did the Moon Form? You Decide.
In a very unique and educational activity, venture to your local library and rent books from various cultures about the origins of the Moon and mythologies that have lived to the present. Turn your InOMN celebration into story night and take turns with family members reading excerpts from the books and mythologies. Learn more about the Moon’s presence and historical importance in different parts of the world. As icing on the cake, have everyone make up their own story!
Participate With Your Community
Being a global holiday, there are a never-ending number of events around the world hosted by local planetariums and museums, by local groups, or even by the astronomy-loving couple. Visit the official InOMN website and find the event nearest you. Can’t find one close to you? Take matters into your own hands and create your own Moon-watching party; feel free to invite friends and family, neighbors, and members of your community!
To find out more about International Observe the Moon Night and see a full list of events and activities, visit the website below:
How will you be celebrating InOMN? Let us know on Facebook!