This event has been cancelled because of Hurricane Matthew.
The moon was the first stop for mankind on its quest to explore the galaxy. And while newer missions poise us toward Mars and beyond, there’s still an ongoing love affair with the moon.
It’s an affair celebrated around the world each year with the International Observe the Moon Night . This year, UCF is hosting a date night with the moon to coincide with the celebration from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Telescopes and activities will be set up around the UCF Reflecting Pond in front of Millican Hall.
The moon will be in the first-quarter phase and if the weather cooperates there will be good views of Saturn and Mars as well, said Yan Fernandez, director of the UCF Robinson Observatory and one of the event’s organizers.
The UCF Planetary Sciences Group, the Robinson Observatory and the student Astronomy Society are organizing the free event.
“For space explorers, the moon has always been alluring,” said Addie Dove, an assistant professor of physics who is a co-organizer of the event. “It’s our closest neighbor, but despite having sent robots and humans to its surface, there is still so much we don’t understand. We want to give our community the opportunity to see it and perhaps get caught up in the excitement of space exploration.”
There will be education stations geared toward children and adults. Physics professors and students also will be on hand to help attendees understand what they are seeing through the telescopes.
“We want our community to come out and see the moon and the stars,” Fernandez said. “We want them to understand why we’ve fallen in love with space.”
The annual worldwide public event was created to encourage observation, appreciation, and understanding of the Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration missions. Previous UCF observation events have drawn up of 200 people.
The event is open to the public. Parking fees apply. To get live updates, especially if the weather is questionable, check the UCF Robinson Observatory’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UCFObservatory  and Twitter @UCFObservatory.