It looks like we finally have some clear and frosty nights coming up, so get out there and look at the night sky. Because the Moon will be so bright we won't be able to see many stars, only the brightest, but the Moon itself will be a fascinating target.

The most obvious thing about the Moon is the way it changes shape, going from a thin crescent to a half disc and then a full disc, and back again, but look a little more closely as it goes through these ‘phases’ and you'll see light and dark areas on the surface. The light areas are the highlands - ancient, heavily cratered, mountainous regions. The dark areas are the famous seas, not of water but smooth, frozen lava, much younger geologically than the highlands.

Through binoculars the Moon's largest craters look stunning. You'll even see bright rays of debris fanning away from some of them.

Look out for the just past full Moon snuggling up close to red Mars on the evening of March 18.

Stuart Atkinson

Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal