Lunar Observing Program

Lunar Observing Program

Ever looked up at The Moon and thought “I really wish I knew what all those places are”? Join The Moon Society’s Lunar Observation Program and find out!

Why observe The Moon?

  • Luna can be observed almost anywhere.
  • Lunar observations can be make almost every night.
  • Luna is easy to observe, even in areas with significant light pollution.
  • No special skills are required to make detailed observations of The Moon.
  • No equipment is necessary to observe The Moon. Binoculars and telescopes will greatly enhance your experience however.
  • Learning about Lunar geography (selenography) with your own eyes will increase your sense of connection and wonder with The Moon.
  • You can contribute to our knowledge of Luna. We don’t know everything about The Moon. You might see something nobody has ever documented before.
  • Someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) humans will be living on Luna. Knowing where they are located will help make The Moon seem more like a “real place”.
  • Observing Luna could be the gateway to a lifetime of observing the sky.

Beta development

This program is new and you can help us develop it!

Join the program, make observations, and let us know what works and what doesn’t. You can have a significant impact on making this program meaningful for many people. There’s no way the Society can build substantial, quality certifications without member input.

This program will be rolled out in stages. Components of each new certification will be introduced to the program members for testing and suggestions. Once we have one certification done, we’ll start on another.

All of our work is held in Slack, an online communication tool. You can join us there by following the instructions on our Discussion Groups webpage.

How to join

Please email the program coordinator, Ben Smith, at if you want to join the program or have any questions.


LOP Observers

Complete a certification and get your name on our website. Eternal glory! Well, maybe not quite but it’s still recognition for your hard work.

General information

  • What is selenography?
  • What is selenology?
  • What are viewing conditions?
  • Geologic Processes on the Moon – At one point The Moon Society and the American Lunar Society had a joint Lunar Study and Observing Certificate Program. ALS is long gone and so is the program. However, this document still has value and is worth reading.
  • Geology Test – The ALS/TMS Observing program required that you read the Geologic Processes on the Moon document then take this test. This program doesn’t require a test. But you might want to try anyway. DO NOT PRINT IT, MAIL IT, OR MAIL ANY MONEY. Seriously, this is just for historical reference and maybe it will help reinforce some information.

Equipment selection

No special equipment is necessary for most certifications in this program. All you need are your eyes and access to free online Lunar images (we’ll provide the links). You don’t even need to go outside (although it is highly recommended).

That said, observing The Moon through binoculars and/or a telescope will definitely enhance your experience. Even modest (and inexpensive) equipment will introduce you to Luna’s dramatic and beautiful features.

Lunar Atlas

You’re going to need access to a Lunar Atlas to find most of these objects. The long-term plan is to have a fully interactive Lunar Atlas on Lunarpedia. However, we’re not there yet. For now, here are some links:

Part of the process is figuring out exactly which photos to use for each location. We’ll get to it eventually.

Submitting your Observation Logs

You’ll need to submit your completed Observation Logs to The Moon Society if you want to receive your certificate. You’ll also need to be a Moon Society member.

The submission process and the Observation Logs are still in being worked on. It’s definitely going to be 100% online though. Nothing paper and nothing mailed. We just don’t have the manpower or time to deal with paper documents. Plus, this is the 21st century.

A brief note on cheating. Everything in this program is voluntary and the rewards for completing it have no monetary value. So, the only person being cheated would be you. Why would you do that to yourself? Taking the time to do the work will be more rewarding than trying to race through it.

Anyway, we trust you.