How Bright is the Moon, Really? | NIST

Moonset on the NIST campus. These white domes will house the equipment used in the Moon brightness experiment. Eventually the domes and equipment will be moved to the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Credit: Jennifer Lauren Lee/NIST

The “inconstant moon,” as Shakespeare called it in Romeo and Juliet, is more reliable than his pair of star-crossed lovers might have thought. Now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plan to make the Moon even more reliable with a new project to measure its brightness.

Scientists put the Moon to work daily as a calibration source for space-based cameras that use the brightness and colors of sunlight reflecting off our planet to track weather patterns, trends in crop health, the locations of harmful algal blooms in oceans and much more. The information sent from Earth-facing imagers allows researchers to predict famines and floods and can help communities plan emergency response and disaster relief.

Source: How Bright is the Moon, Really? | NIST