Whether you are able to safely host a physical event or you are interested in planning a virtual event, we are here to help. Please observe in the way that is healthiest for your community and yourself.
In the United States, participate safely and responsibly in adherence to local and CDC guidelines, which can include social distancing, handwashing, and face coverings.
Internationally, participate safely and responsibly in adherence to local laws and guidelines.
Make sure that you register your event! The best way to stay up to date on registration and more is through our newsletter. By registering, you will promote your event to observers worldwide, gain access to the most up-to-date event materials, and become an official part of International Observe the Moon Night.
Your event can be a small gathering of friends or family, an online program for thousands of visitors, or anything in between. The size, location, and agenda are for you to determine, based on public health guidance in your area, your interests and expertise, the interests and needs of your audience, and the resources you have available.
Though we encourage everyone to participate in International Observe the Moon Night on a specific date each year, we understand that this date may not work for everyone. You are welcome to host your event on a different day. The main objectives are for you and your audience to observe and learn about the Moon as well as celebrate your personal and cultural connections to our nearest celestial neighbor.
Event Planning Webinar
Event Host Webinar
The next International Observe the Moon Night Event Planning Webinar will be scheduled in summer 2024.
How to Host an Event in 8 Easy Steps
1. Consider your audience and setting.
Who would you like to come to your event?
How many people would you like to be there?
Will this event be open to the public? Will you confine it to members of a club or society? Members and their families?
Could you involve school groups?
When keeping track of attendance at a virtual event, will you tally households/logins or individuals? (For example, will a family of five sitting around on a single computer count as one or five?) How will you gather this information?
B. Platform or Location
How or where will you host your event? For a virtual program, consider what you will need in a hosting platform and how your audience will access the event. (If you are new to the virtual event environment, you may find these tips and resources for holding virtual events collected by the Night Sky Network helpful.) If you are able to safely host a physical event, make sure you have all of the proper permissions and permits to use your desired venue, and then consider:
How many people will this venue, or virtual platform, hold?
Will this size be sufficient to accommodate all of your desired participants in accordance with current health guidelines? For in-person events, remember to consider flow of traffic in entryways & exits, restrooms, and any other possible trouble areas specific to your venue.
Does your physical event venue have access to restrooms?
Is your physical venue accessible to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices?
Will key information be available in multiple formats (visual, auditory, etc.)?
Is there easily accessible parking from which your participants can safely reach this venue, with enough parking spots for all of your expected participants?
Does this venue have both an indoor and outdoor area? Would you like to use them both?
Will you be able to turn off enough outside lights so that they do not interfere with telescope viewing?
Can you make sure there will not be any sprinklers watering the lawn, if you will be using a grassy area for observations?
What will you do in case of clouds or rain?
C. Get help!
Who will be assisting you with your program? Do you need partners?
Are there amateur astronomers in your community? Could they bring or live-stream telescopes, assist with viewing, and/or provide a virtual or in-person speaker (if you choose to have one)?
Are there any universities in the area with astronomy departments or clubs? Would they be willing to help host your event?
Will you have the help you need to set up and facilitate your event? If you are hosting in person, will you have enough help cleaning up?
Check out the Find Partners page if you’d like help connecting to local astronomical societies or the Speakers Bureau.
2. Check when the Moon will be visible from your event location.
Check the times of Moon rise and set in your location, and remember that if you are in an area with a lot of trees, buildings, mountains, or other obstacles that block your view of the horizon, it may be best to schedule your event well after Moon rise or well before Moon set.
No matter where you are or what the weather, everyone can observe the Moon through images, visualizations, or online portals. Beautiful lunar images are a great decoration, rain or shine. Galleries of lunar videos and other visualizations are available through NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. Visitors can also explore the Moon through websites such as MoonTrek.
3. Browse and download advertising materials and resources.
The Event Materials page includes activity suggestions, Moon maps, printable handouts, and presentation slides that you can use at your events.
4. Register your event.
Register to put your event and location details on the map! By registering, you will promote your event, gain access to the most up-to-date event materials, and receive evaluation training.
5. Promote your event.
Now that you’ve got all the plans made, it’s time to invite your participants. Whatever your intended audience, we have lots of resources available to help you share your event. Get the word out about your event via social media, posters in your neighborhood, advertisements in local papers or newsletters, and connections with clubs, schools, or other organizations that may be interested in attending.
6. Host ― and have fun!
The main event! Make sure your participants, your volunteers — and you — are (safely!) engaged, excited, and learning and sharing information about the Moon. Check out the Sample Event and images of past events for ideas.
7. Learn about your event.
We hope that all events will be spectacular successes — and if they are, we would like to hear about it! Just as importantly, we’d like to know if anything did not work out as you hoped, and what we could do to help you improve your future events.
During your event, encourage your attendees to fill out our Observer Survey (published ahead of each year's event) to ensure their voices and opinions are heard, and their suggestions considered.
After your event, please complete a Host Survey (published ahead of each year's event) to let us know how we can better serve you and your International Observe the Moon Night audience in the future.
Planning to collect additional attendee feedback for your own use? Check out our Evaluation Tips.
8. Connect and share your experience with the whole International Observe the Moon Night community.
Make sure to mark your official contribution to this global event by downloading and completing your certificate of participation.
The International Observe the Moon Night Flickr page is a powerful way to see how people all over the world joined in International Observe the Moon Night, and to add your own experience to the worldwide conversation. Check out #ObserveTheMoon on social media, contribute your own stories, and stay up to date on lunar observation content by following us on Twitter and Facebook.