Inexpensive, yet surprisingly powerful laser pointing devices have become ubiquitous in America. Millions of people own such a device. Laser light stays coherent over vast distances, the beams spreading very little. In theory, even a single laser pointer could reach the Moon. The idea behind Paint the Moon is to organize millions of people in North America to try and shine their laser pointers on one area of the Moon at one time, to see if we can create a temporary visible field of color on our nearest celestial neighbor.
On October 27th at 11:00 P.M. EDT (10:00 P.M. CDT, 9:00 P.M. MDT, 8:00 P.M. PDT) and again on November 24th at 11:00 P.M. EST (10:00 P.M. CST, 9:00 P.M. MST, 8:00 P.M. PST), everyone who has a laser pointer and a clear view of the first-quarter Moon should turn on their pointers and aim them at the moon, just behind (to the left, or East) of the terminator (the line where the sunlight stops). The illustration at the top of this page shows approximately where you should aim. Continue to shine your pointer at this spot for five minutes. That’s it.