On Tuesday, February 7, the Earth facing side of “Full Snow Moon” will shine brightly in the night sky. And thanks to NASA, detailed, close-up views of the moon’s other side are coming online.
The image shown here (to the right) was acquired during a January 19 test of the Ebb spacecraft on NASA’s GRAIL mission. It shows the crater-filled south pole of the moon’s far side, or the side we can’t see.
The GRAIL mission launched twin spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, into tandem orbits around the moon in September.
NASA overview of GRAIL mission
Anticipate an onslaught of lunar imagery to begin emerging in mid-March when thousands of fourth- to eight-grade students across the country begin requesting target areas of the moon to study. The requests will be received by the MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego, which will send photos back to the students.
NASA says GRAIL is its first mission fully dedicated to education and public outreach.
As the for the arriving “Full Snow Moon”, it will be hard to miss tonight (at 99 percent illumination) and Tuesday (full). Just don’t look for much of the snow for which the moon is named. That is, unless you’re in Europe...
Here’s a video from NASA on other night sky phenomena to look out for this month...