Moon Party at San Bernardino County Museum

Andy Cheng

Posted October 1, 2007 in

Has it really been 398 years since Galileo invited the Romans back to his crib in Padua to the inaugural Moon Party? Gosh time flies. I paraphrase history a bit, but back in those early days his telescopic spyglass magnified the heavens so unfathomably (20 times) that it was certain he was the product of a raving heresy–and don’t even get him started about heliocentricity. Even still, because a chance to glimpse the white charcoal ash of the moon’s surface was so alluring–as well as an excellent apricot sweetmeat that he made from scratch–the laity soon came around to Galileo’s lunacy. In fact, they embraced it.

Today the San Bernardino Valley Amateur Astronomers are inviting the public to come join them as they, too, train their dozen or so telescopes to the heavens from the County Museum parking lot. These telescopes are so high-powered and so ruthlessly revealing–like looking at yourself in the mirror in really bad lighting–that you can see things like three billion year old lava flows, the "dark, expansive Maria," and, if you squint, the ashes of Gene Shoemaker, the only man to be "buried" on the moon’s surface. For this year’s Moon Party, you’ll catch the disc in its gibbous moon phase, five days past the first quarter phase. The gibbous (which is Latin for "hump") is a moon that is more than half of its surface is illuminated, and is a lovely, less-blinding time to gaze upon its craters and mountains. Come out and see the orb from whence the two most awkward fits in society derived–Monday and Menstruation.

On this evening the astronomers will also be taking a closer look at Jupiter, so come with celestial appetite. (Chuck Mindenhall)

San Bernardino County Museum, 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Saturday, August 25, 8pm-9:30pm. Admission and parking are free, and all ages are welcome. For more information, visit


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