US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — If during the New Year holidays you were lucky enough to receive a telescope as a gift, then most likely the first object of your observations will be our nearest neighbor in space – the Moon.
But when is the best time to contemplate the moon through a telescope? Probably newcomers to astronomy will unanimously say that the best time to observe the moon is the full moon. However, in reality the opposite is true. The time when the moon is fully lit, the worst for its contemplation! The full moon dazzles and looks flat.
Observing the moon through a telescope is best when the satellite is in the first or last quarter of the phase. It was at this time that astronomers can enjoy the lunar landscape along the line of sunrise and sunset or the terminator. The terminator is the boundary between the illuminated and shadowed parts of the moon.
During the first or last quarter of the moon phase, in contrast to the full moon, with the help of a telescope with small optical power or even powerful binoculars, we can examine in detail the surface of the moon. Around the time when the Moon is only half lit or in phase between the first quarter and the full moon or the full moon and the last quarter, the relief of the areas lying along the light line is clearly visible.
During the full moon, the moon is almost completely lit, especially in the area around its center. The sun illuminates the entire surface of the celestial body, even microscopic slits, and with the exception of the immediate edge, we will not find visible shadows.
How does the brightness of the moon differ in the first and last quarter of the phase and during the full moon? It would be logical to assume that the brightness of a half-lit disk should be exactly half the brightness of a full moon. However, in fact, in the first quarter, the brightness of the moon is only 1/11 of the brightness during the full moon. This is because even the illuminated half of the moon is very darkened. Paradoxically, just 2.4 days before the full moon, the brightness of the illuminated part of the moon reaches half the brightness of the full moon.
Finally, have you ever paid attention to how the artists portray the moon? Almost always, the paintings show either a young month or the full moon. Half the moon is depicted much less often, but paintings with a quarter of the night star will be completely difficult to find.
Interestingly, the Moon is most clearly visible in the night sky during the phase between the first quarter and the full moon or the full moon and the last quarter. It is also noteworthy that, if you contemplate the Moon with the naked eye, it seems full for two or even three nights before and after the full moon. We often contemplate the “crescent” moon for the reason that it is visible in the sky longer than midnight. In fact, it can be distinguished during the day. As for the young month, which is often depicted by artists, in this phase the moon is visible only in the early evening or in the morning.
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