The beauty of the full moon on a clear night sky never fails to enchant Professor Ricardo Vaz Tolentino.
The good professor is a keen moon photographer. He captures its brilliance in vivid detail through his trusty telescopes.
"From its privileged position in the firmament, the moon has been and will continue to be an 'eyewitness' of the unfolding of the history of humanity in its happy and sad moments," Professor Vaz Tolentino said.
"When observed through the eyepiece of a telescope, there is nothing more varied, detailed and rich in the night sky than the interesting relief of the lunar surface."
The professor's comments come as the world marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.
To mark the anniversary, he emailed a special anniversary edition of his lunar photographs and information to Newcastle Herald readers.
This was done through Col Maybury, Astronomical Society of the Hunter president, who is friends with the professor.
He often photographs the moon from a mobile observatory on the roof of an apartment in Belo Horizonte in Brazil.
"From our point of view here on Earth, the moon is actually a cosmic giant when compared to other celestial bodies, such as the planets," Professor Vaz Tolentino said.
"The moon is the most outstanding star of the night sky and the second brightest of the firmament [the sun is number one]."
He said the moon contains basaltic lava "seas", plateaus, mountain ranges, escarpments, countless craters, canals, wrinkled ridges, extinct volcanoes and much more.
"Our natural satellite is easily observable and photographed with sharpness, even in large and polluted urban centres," he said.
The professor said the Apollo missions inspired him to find "beautiful paths to the moon" through telescopes.
"I consider myself a ground-based astronaut, making my trips to the moon through the views from eyepieces," he said.
He added that the moon had always inspired humans to look up at the sky.
"Since prehistoric times, cultures around the world have contemplated the moon. The lunar phase cycle has a direct influence on the Earth's oceanic tides and was also used by ancient scholars to compile the first calendars," he said.
"The prominence of the moon in the night sky had an important influence on the culture, art and agriculture of the ancient peoples of the Earth.
"Throughout the history of mankind, the moon has been a source of religious reverence, superstition and myth. Even today, people often blame the full moon for abnormal behaviour, not to mention werewolves."
For humanity, the importance of scientific study of the moon lies in the fact that "our natural satellite helps us to understand and know more about the origin and evolution of the Earth and the other planets of the solar system".
A Moon Song
Australian country music legend Reg Lindsay, who lived in Kearsley at Cessnock, famously wrote a song called Armstrong. To mark the moon anniversary, we thought we'd share a selection of the song's lyrics.
Black boy in Chicago playin' in the street, not enough to wear, not near enough to eat. But don't you know he saw it, on a July afternoon, saw a man named Armstrong, walk upon the moon. Young girl in Calcutta, barely eight years old, don't you know she heard it, on a July afternoon, heard a man named Arrmstrong, walk upon the moon. War and hate is killin' up, the only Earth we had, but the world all stopped to watch on a July afternoon, watched a man named Arrmstrong, walk upon the moon.
A Moon Poem
Jack Kerouac was one of our favourite writers for a long time. He wrote the iconic book, On the Road, in 1957.
He also wrote a poem titled, The Moon Her Majesty.
Here's a bit of his verse.
The moon her magic be, big sad face of infinity. An illuminated clay ball, manifesting many gentlemanly remarks. She kicks a star, clouds foregather. You can let the moon fool you with imaginary orange-balls of blazing imaginary light in fright.
Deep as the ocean, high as the moon, low as the lowest river lagoon. In some cases, the moon is you. In any case, the moon.