Astronomy – there is much to learn. True, and sometimes we learn things that are just not quite correct. This is an attempt to address some common misconceptions. Most people understand that the Earth is round, and that the moon orbits the Earth. But there is so much more to understand.

Misconception No. 1 – “The moon radiates its own light.” The moon only reflects light from the sun.

Misconception No. 2 – “Moon phases are caused by the Earth’s shadow.” Moon phases are determined by the location of the moon as it orbits the Earth, and the angle between the sun and the moon as seen from Earth. The dark part of the moon is actually caused by the part of the moon which we see that is in the moon’s shadow.

To understand the universe, join us for public night at the Insperity Observatory, the first Friday of each month, sunset to 10 p.m.: humbleisd.net/observatory.

By Dr. Aaron B. Clevenson
Observatory Director, Insperity Observatory

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.