The beauty of observing the Moon

BBC Sky at Night Magazine reviews editor Paul Money extols the virtues of exploring Earth's satellite.

The Moon’s craters and seas are better defined by the end of our processing. Credit: Ian Evenden

There’s one object that is guaranteed to get the oohs and ahhs when visitors look through your telescope at any of the regular public stargazing events up and down the country: our Moon.

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It lies so tantalisingly close and full of detail that it never fails to impress and what’s more, I’ve found that even a small spotting scope view gets a good reaction.

That’s the beauty of it: we cover many telescopes of different apertures and focal lengths in our monthly reviews in BBC Sky at Night Magazine, but all can usually show a great view of our nearest neighbour.

In most cases, you don’t need a huge telescope to spot features on the Moon, however we recently reviewed the Celestron AVX 700 Mak-Cass, a good one for lunar exploration.

A good range of eyepieces along with Barlow or Powermate lenses to increase magnification can bring out even more detail, so keep an eye on our on-line accessory reviews so you know what to buy to get the best from your equipment. Even the larger of observation binoculars can give great views.

Whatever you use, always make time for the Moon, even if you are an avid deep-sky observer!

The naked eye and binocular views of the Moon can be rewarding too, especially when there is a close conjunction with a bright star or planetary body such as Venus or Jupiter.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Moon, sign up to our Back Garden Astronomy campaign, running 2-9 March 2020, and discover more about our celestial neighbour.