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Viewing The Moon With Binoculars

May 14, 2008
Except for the Sun, our Moon is the brightest celestial body in the heavens, and has been a topic of discussion and myth for thousands of years. Regularly visible to the naked eye, the Moon is our closest neighbor and Orbits around us; even to the naked eye, it reveals shaded areas that, under further investigation with your Apochromatic telescope or 10 x 25 BCR Compact Leica Binoculars reveals craters, seas and mountain ranges, as interesting as the Earth's own surface.

The Moon has easily been examined more thoroughly than any other object in our sky. It has highlands and lightly cratered seas that give the moon its texture. The formation of our Moon is one that is a bit singular in the history of our solar system. Other moons formed out of protoplanatary disks, much like the planets. Our Moon, on the other hand, is thought to have been created when an object that was about the size of Mars collided with the earth and shattered; the resulting space debris would then join together into the Moon that we see every night.

When the Moon appears fully in the sky and is not obscured by its position, we can see the lunar maria, the lunar seas that anciently were believed to be full of water. Now we know that the moon is full of ancient solid lava known as basalt. The seas were formed when asteroids hit the Moon's surface. These maria are found primarily on the side of the moon "facing" the earth, with far fewer collisions and impacts having occurred on the far side.

The atmosphere of the Moon is very thin and one of its main sources is outgassing, where gases like radon are formed from the radioactive decay of the minerals in the crust of the Moon's surface. The other source for the Moon's atmosphere is the bombardment of tiny meteorites and ions from the solar wind.

In recent years, it was found that the Moon is the fact it might contain packets of ice water. Due to comets and meteors hitting the moon nearly continuously, water has been brought to the Moon. But we thought the weak gravity and the sunlight would split it down to hydrogen and oxygen and spin it off into space. It was discovered, though, that there are craters on the moon that are in permanent shadow, and that the water that rests in these shadow could be quite stable for long periods of time. The presence of water on the Moon, a subject which has seen hot debate is still undecided at this time.

Other than the Earth, the Moon is the heavenly body in our solar system that we know the most about, but in many ways, it is still a mystery to us. We will continue to learn more about our closest neighbor and our only satellite.

"If the earth goes, we go. And so we should go elsewhere, so that when the earth goes, we have another place to go. And while we're at it, we should take our pets and plants, too. We wouldn't want to be without them, just as they wouldn't want to be without us--even if they don't know it. It's our job to know things, and to act accordingly. And if we fail at that mission, then we really will have failed in upholding our end of the Burkean bargain-that is, partnering not only with the living and the dead, but with those who are yet to be born." James Pinkerton, "The Ultimate Lifeboat," TCS Daily, 2006
About the Author
Matt has his own website about Binoculars .
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