Most people are awestruck by a full moon, and think that it’s the very best time to take out a telescope. It’s a big, beautiful glowing orb that rises from the murk of the horizon to illuminate the night until the sun comes to take it’s place. But I remain unimpressed. Sure, it’s beautiful… but I usually don’t pull a telescope out for it. It’s definitely interesting and worthy of study, but it surely isn’t my favorite time of lunar study. Why, you may ask? Many people would think the reason is it’s just to bright and painful to look at through a telescope. But that’s not it at all, as there are neutral-density filters (a filter that darkens) that will cut the light down some. It’s just the lack of features on the moon. Think about this: when the moon is full, the sun is shining directly on the moon, face-on. This makes the moon look flat. However, if you look at lunar phase that isn’t full (i.e., around 1st quarter, 3rd quarter, waning/waxing crescent and waning/waxing gibbous) the sun is shining light at an angle on the moon, making craters and mountains cast shadows, making them pop up and appear more 3-D. This allows for a much more interesting lunar observing experience.