On October 5, 2019, astronomers and space fans worldwide will celebrate the 10th International Observe the Moon Night. The annual event was started by NASA in 2009 to "celebrate lunar science and exploration, celestial observation, and our cultural and personal connections to the Moon."
Though the exact date varies, the celebration always occurs in September or October, when the Moon is in the first quarter phase. That's when the lunar features that lie close to the terminator — the line between night and day — can be clearly viewed even through small telescopes or binoculars.
With 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the historic July 1969 Moon landing, this year's celebration is particularly special. NASA believes the event presents a perfect opportunity to discuss past and future lunar exploration endeavors and to honor the people that helped achieve this scientific triumph for humankind.
A clear view of Saturn will further enhance the magical night. The planet, which will appear as a bright yellowish-white "star" shining just 2 degrees to the Moon's right, will be visible to the naked eye. However, those hoping to catch a glimpse of the planet's famous icy rings are advised to seek out a powerful telescope.
NASA recommends celebrating the evening with other space enthusiasts at one of the thousands of International Observe the Moon Night parties taking place worldwide. Can't find an event nearby? Host one yourself, or check if your local science museum has a celebration planned.
Happy Lunar and Saturn viewing!
Resources: Space.com, Earthsky.org, NASA.org