Can astronomers observe anything when the moon is full?
Can any meaningful optical ground-based observations of deep space objects be made when the moon in any phase is in the night sky?
*Some* objects can be observed even when the moon is in the sky and full. Typically, available observing time is divided up into times when the moon is bright, and times when the moon is either not in the sky, or in a phase where it's not very bright. Certain objects can only be observed during the "dark time" when the moon is not up, so you have to schedule those observing sessions accordingly.
The brightness of your source is what determines whether you need dark time or not. If your source is really dim, then you need dark time. If your source is bright, then you don't. If you have a very extended source, then the moon might also be a problem because it illuminates different parts of the sky by different amounts. But it may be possible to correct for that.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- What percent of the time can astronomers observe without interference from the Moon?
- What kind of interference must astronomers contend with when observing?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 18444 times since October 9, 2002.
Last modified: December 3, 2002 3:31:54 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)