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TEXT 1: How brightly the moon glows is a mystery, but maybe not for long.
“The lunar dark side may be the moon’s more mysterious face, but there’s something pretty basic scientists still don’t know about the bright side — namely, just how bright it is.
Current estimates of the moon’s brightness at any given time and vantage point are saddled with at least 5 percent uncertainty. That’s because those estimates are based on measurements from ground-based telescopes that gaze at the moon through the haze of Earth’s atmosphere.
Now, scientists have sent a telescope beyond the clouds on a high-altitude airplane in hopes of gauging the moon’s glow within about 1 percent or less uncertainty, the National Institute of Standards and Technology reports in a Nov. 19 news release.
Knowing the exact brightness of Earth’s celestial night-light could increase the reliability of data from Earth-observing satellites that use the moon’s steady glow to check that their sensors are working properly. Those satellites keep tabs on things like weather, crop health and dangerous algal blooms.”
(Adapted from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-brightly-moon-glows-is-mystery-but-maybe-not-long).